No. 7 UCSB Heads North For Pairing With No. 8 UC Davis, NorCal Open

No. 7 UCSB Heads North For Pairing With No. 8 UC Davis, NorCal Open

Sept. 12, 2007

• The Schedule
Friday, Sept. 14, 2007
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara at No. 8 UC Davis, 12 pm
at UC Davis' Schaal Aquatics Complex

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007
Northern California Open
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 11 Loyola Marymount, 9:20 am
at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex

Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007
Northern California Open
Opponents and times will be determined by bracket play.
at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex and Miramonte High School's Bill Brown Aquatics Center

• This Week In Water Polo
The No. 7 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team (8-1) once again has a busy weekend ahead as it travels North to face No. 8 UC Davis on Friday at the Aggies' Schaal Aquatics Center before heading to Cal where it will compete in the two-day Northern California Open, a tournament that features 14 of the nation's top-20 teams. The Gauchos will open tourney action with a game versus No. 11 Loyola Marymount Saturday morning at 9:20 am at Cal's Spieker Aquatics Complex.

• Gauchos Fair Well At Inland Empire Classic
After opening the 2007 season with a first place finish and 4-0 record at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational, UC Santa Barbara faced its first loss of the season to then-ranked No. 7 Pepperdine in the opening game of the Inland Empire Classic. The Waves were able to avenge their loss to the Gauchos in the championship game the prior weekend with an 11-9 win on Saturday. UCSB recovered from the loss and went on to defeat No. 20 Cal Baptist, 12-10, and No. 19 Pomona-Pitzer, 11-5, later in the day. Sunday the Gauchos closed the tournament with dominating wins over Redlands, 20-11, and Chapman, 23-5. Santa Barbara currently holds an 8-1 overall record and has slipped back down to its preseason ranking of No. 7 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association's Top-20 Poll.

• Partelow's On A Roll Sophomore driver Stefan Partelow led the Gauchos with 11 goals scored during the weekend's five games. The Manhattan Beach, Calif. native posted a pair of goals in each of the first four games of the Inland Empire Classic and rounded out the tournament with his second hat trick of the season in the 23-5 win over Chapman. Partelow is now currently tied for first on the team with 16 goals scored. In addition to his 11 goals, the sophomore tallied five assists, five field blocks, three steals and earned one ejection.

• Zoning In On Zsombor
Partelow is not the only Gaucho on a roll, Zsombor Vincze has gotten his sophomore season off to a strong start by scoring in the last eight games played. In the game vs. Pepperdine, the native of Szeged, Hungary tallied a team-high three goals. He followed with at least one goal in the next four games including his second hat trick of the weekend vs. Chapman. The 2006 All-MPSF Honorable Mention is third on the team with 15 goals scored on 25 attempts for a .600 shooting percentage. He has also handed out 15 assists and earned a team-best 13 penalties or ejections.

• Five Alive
Senior Ross Sinclair is tied with Partelow as the team's leading scorer with 16 goals in 2007. The 2006 Third Team All-American posted 10 goals at the Inland Empire Classic including a season-high five points against Pomona-Pitzer. In addition to being the Gaucho goal leader, the driver has a team-best 12 assists and has collected six steals and six field blocks. Just one day after Sinclair's five-goal performance, freshman Brian Bishop posted five goals of his own in the 20-11 win over Redlands. The two-meter defender, who redshirted last season, now has eight goals on the season.

• Goalie Gossip
Each of UCSB's three goalies got a piece of last weekend's action in and out of the cage. Rick Wright played the entire match against Pepperdine notching six saves against the Waves. The senior also tallied six blocks in two quarters of work against Redlands on Sunday. The San Diego, Calif. native also saw a little time in the field against Chapman and was able to tally two goals. Wright is currently averaging 9.6 saves per game and has a .577 save percentage. In addition to Wright, sophomore Michael Robinson and freshman Fraser Bunn also split time in-between the posts. Bunn tallied 20 saves during the weekend and Robinson had 10. Each also scored a goal from the field against Chapman. Bunn is currently averaging 13.3 saves per game while Robinson is averaging 4.3.

• The Wigo File
Now in his third season as the head coach of the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team is three-time Olympian and former captain of the USA Men's National Team, Wolf Wigo. Overall, Wigo has posted a 42-32 (.567) record at UCSB. In 2006, just his second year with the program, Wigo led his team to a fifth place finish in the MPSF and an overall record of 21-14, marking the first 20-win season for UCSB since 1990. Wigo also coached three players to All-MPSF honors and Ross Sinclair became the first player he has coached to earn collegiate All-American honors.

• About The Aggies
No. 8 UC Davis, a member of the Western Water Polo Association, has gone 3-2 so far this season and took third place two weeks ago at the UCSD Triton Invitational. Most recently, the Aggies fell 17-3 to No. 2 Cal on Sunday. Junior Adam Bennett currently leads UC Davis with 11 goals on the season while goalkeeper Mike McGee averages 10 saves per game. The Gauchos last faced UC Davis at the 2006 Long Beach State Mini Tournament last season where the Aggies came away with a narrow 3-4 win over UCSB.

• Taming The Lions
On Saturday, UCSB will begin the always competitive Northern California Open with a game vs. No. 11 Loyola Marymount. The Lions have posted a 2-4 record so far this season and most recently faced a pair of losses to No. 3 UCLA and No. 1 USC. Last Thursday the Lions suffered a narrow 8-6 loss to the Bruins and then fell 9-4 to USC two days later. The Gauchos dropped two games to LMU in 2006 with the Lions taking the last pairing by way of 10-8 score on Oct. 15, 2006 at the Southern California Tournament.

• 2006 In Review
Overall, UCSB finished 2006 with a 21-14 record, marking the first 20-win season since 1990 when the Gauchos finished 23-9. The Gauchos posted a 3-5 MPSF record and took two top-four teams, Stanford and UCLA, into overtime during conference competition. UCSB placed fifth during the conference's regular season and took fifth at the MPSF tournament. In the final Collegiate Water Polo Association Top-20 Coaches Poll, the Gauchos were ranked sixth, their best finish since 1994. All of these feats were accomplished without a single senior on the Gaucho roster.

• Coming Attractions
Next week, the Gauchos will play UC Irvine in a non-conference match-up and then participate in a couple of games at the Long Beach State Mini Tournament on Sept. 22. Another mini tournament at Pepperdine is on schedule for Sept. 29 followed by the conference match-up with UCI the following day. UCSB opens October on the road with a game at UC San Diego on the fifth and will participate in the Southern California Tournament at Irvine on Oct. 13-14. After the tournament-intensive portion of the season winds down, the Gauchos have a stretch of MPSF games, including the only four home match-ups of the season. The Gauchos will host Pacific (Oct. 19), USC (Oct. 20), Cal (Nov. 4) and UCLA (Nov. 10) at Campus Pool. This season's MPSF Tournament is hosted by Cal and will be held Nov. 23-25.