Seventh-Seeded Gauchos Head to MPSF Tournament this Weekend
Nov. 25, 2009
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament
Friday, Nov. 27, 2009
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (12-14, 1-7) vs. Stanford (20-2, 7-1), 11:30 a.m.
at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium
This Week In Gaucho Water Polo
Seventh-seeded UC Santa Barbara will face No. 2 seed Stanford in the opening round of the 2009 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, being hosted by USC at McDonald's Swim Stadium this Friday through Sunday. The winner of the conference tournament will receive an automatic berth into the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Last Time Out
UCSB concluded its regular season schedule last Saturday at Pepperdine. The Gauchos suffered a narrow 9-8 loss at the hands of the Waves and ended their MPSF season with a 1-7 overall mark, their worst conference record since 2003 when UCSB went 1-6 in MPSF play.
For The Record
The Gauchos enter this week's action with a 12-14 overall record. UCSB has not finished a season with a record below .500 since 2005, when it went 13-17 overall. Eight of the Gauchos' losses this season - including their last three - have been by only a one or two goal margin.
Pulse On The Poll
For the second consecutive week and fifth this season, UCSB is ranked No. 9 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association's Top-20 poll. The Gauchos spent six weeks as the sixth ranked team earlier in the season (Sept. 9 through Oct. 14) and have finished the last three seasons as the No. 6 team in the country.
USC clinched the No. 1 seed into next week's MPSF Tournament after posting a perfect 8-0 record in conference play. The Trojans will play No. 8 seeded Pacific, which knocked Long Beach State out of the tournament with a 9-8 win last Saturday. The other two first round games will be between No. 3 Cal and No. 6 UC Irvine and No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 Pepperdine.
Stanford enters the weekend with a 20-2 overall record and finished conference play with a 7-1 mark, with their lone loss coming in overtime against USC. The Cardinal are led by Drac Wigo (brother of head coach Wolf Wigo), who averages 2.70 goals per game, ranking second in the MPSF. Janson Wigo, his twin, is second on the team and fourth in conference with 2.17 goals per game. Goalkeeper Jimmie Sandaman is currently third in the conference with his average of 9.51 saves per game. The Gauchos and Stanford last met on Oct. 31 when the Cardinal posted a 13-8 victory over UCSB. Junior Milos Golic tallied six goals for the Gauchos in the loss.
Golic Knows Goals
Speaking of Milos Golic and six-goal performances, the junior had his third in the Gauchos' narrow 9-8 loss to Pepperdine last Saturday. His half dozen goals against the Waves propelled his career count to 203, making him just the fourth player in school history to reach 200 career tallies. The Belgrade, Serbia native currently leads the team with his 68 goals and leads the MPSF with his 2.72 goals per game average. He is also second among the Gauchos with nine assists, fourth with 11 steals and third with 39 earned penalties or ejections this season. Golic is currently amidst a 13-game scoring streak which includes 12 multiple-goal performances.
Leader Of The Pack
UCSB not only has the top goal-scorer in the MPSF, but the top goalkeeper as well. Junior Fraser Bunn leads all conference goalkeepers with his 9.51 saves per game average. The native of Melbourne, Australia has started 21 of the Gauchos 26 games and has tallied a total of 164 saves this season.
He's Going Streaking!
In addition to Golic, sophomore Noah Smith is also currently amidst a scoring streak, having tallied goals in the last four games, including two against Pepperdine. Smith is second on the team with his 33 goals this season and ranks 22nd in the MPSF with an average of 1.38 per game. He also leads the Gauchos with 45 earned penalties or ejections this season.
Junior Zsombor Vincze ranks 16th in the MPSF with his 1.50 goals per game. He has posted 27 this season, good for third on the team. Vincze has had eight multiple-goal outings, including five games with a hat trick or more.
Happy 30th Anniversary!
On Nov. 25, 1979, UCSB won its first Division I National Championship when the men's water polo team defeated UCLA 11-3 in the NCAA Tournament title game. To read more about this UCSB first, click here.