No. 2 UCSB Makes History with a Leap in the Rankings, Hosts Sunday Doubleheader

matt gronow

The Schedule
Saturday, October 6, 2012
UCSB Campus Pool
UCSB vs. Alumni, 3 p.m.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
UCSB Campus Pool
UCSB vs. Iona, 9 a.m.
UCSB vs. Harvard, 12 p.m.

Moving Up the Ranks
After a spectacular weekend of play in last weekend's Southern California Tournament, two seems to be the Gauchos' magic number.  Pulling off two powerhouse upsets to earn a second-place finish in the SoCal Tournament, UC Santa Barbara (12-3) garnered a No. 2 national ranking in this week's Collegiate Water Polo Association Poll. 

Climbing four spots from its previously sixth-ranked position, UCSB's leap in the rankings marks the most significant shift of the week for the CWPA Poll.  The Gauchos' takeover of the No. 2 spot in the poll uproots No. 3 UCLA (15-2), who had previously remained unmoved from its No. 2 national ranking throughout four weekends of play, and No. 5 Stanford (6-2) whose only shift resulted from fourth to third nationally after three completed weekends of competition.

In last weekend's tournament, host UCSB solidified its position as one of the nation's toughest programs.  Opening the tournament with a 15-8 first round win over No. 11 UC San Diego (7-5), the Gauchos provided a rousing nightcap as they upset then-ranked No. 3 Stanford in a 12-9 effort.  En route to the championship match, the Gauchos pulled off their largest upset of the weekend with an 11-10 victory over then-ranked No. 2 UCLA.   Meeting the reigning national champions, USC, for the final contest of the tournament, the top-ranked and undefeated Trojans proved to be worthy of their ninth SoCal Invite championship in the past decade - handing UCSB only their third defeat of the season.

The well-deserved No. 2 standing signifies a historic landmark for the Gauchos who earn their highest rank since 1979, following UCSB's national championship which landed the program a number one ranking at the conclusion of the year.   UCSB's last top-four ranking dates back to October 2004, making this the first time that the Gauchos have catapulted into the nation's top-four during the tenure of head coach Wolf Wigo.

Shaking up the record books, UCSB's epic upset over UCLA denotes the shattering of a 35-game losing streak, dating back to October 1992. The squad's win over both the Bruins and Cardinal in the same season makes the Gauchos' first dual victories over the programs since 1979.   

Leading the Way
A week away from opening Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference play, UCSB enters this weekend with a 12-3 overall record to tally its best start of a season since 1993.  After five weekends of non-conference action, the Gauchos have compiled a .800 winning percentage, scoring 207 goals to place third among MPSF teams.  Leading the offense, juniors Matt Gronow and Evan Dellinger remain on the MPSF's leading scorers list with 32 and 30 goals, respectively.  Gronow ranks 11th on the leader board, while Dellinger places 13th.  Senior Myles Christian shines in the goal, tallying 119 saves with an 11.3 saves per game average, ranking third amongst MPSF goalkeepers. 

Next in Line
Amidst a flourishing start and a historic ranking, UCSB is slated to maintain momentum at home as they host an alumni game on Saturday before playing their final non-conference contests in a double header against Iona and Harvard on Sunday.  All games will be held at UCSB's Campus Pool. 

Tickets for home men's water polo games are available by visiting the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling (805) 893-UCSB or by clicking here.