January 19, 2011

UCSB Women's Water Polo: 2011 Season Preview

Jan. 19, 2011

The UC Santa Barbara women's water polo team will officially open the 2011 season tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 20 when the Gauchos travel to Monterey, California to take on Cal State Monterey Bay. The Gauchos will then head north to face Cal State East Bay before finishing off a triple-header weekend in Berkeley, California where they will play Sonoma State on Saturday Jan. 22. Before UCSB dives into its 2011 campaign, let's take a glimpse into what the season has in store for the Gauchos.

Since Wolf Wigo took the reigns of the UCSB women's water polo program in 2008, he has had the goal of taking the Gauchos to the NCAA Tournament. This season, the objective is no different, but it may be easier.

This is the first time ever that UCSB has hosted the Big West Championship Tournament. The winner will automatically have a bid into the NCAA Championships for the first time since the Big West began sponsoring water polo in 2009. The tournament will be held on the last weekend of April and the first of May (4/29-5/1).

The Gauchos road to a championship may be plowed, but it is not paved. The Gauchos have to win the Big West Tournament to get into the NCAA Championships. Here is a quick look at the players who will be fighting for that bid.

Goalkeepers

This season UCSB will have three goalkeepers on the roster who have a combined five years of collegiate experience under their belts.

The starter in goal will most likely be sophomore Ruth Milne who started 27 games in goal during her first season with UCSB. Over the season she posted 275 saves, which is a single-season school record. Her 10.39 saves per game ranked second in the Big West Conference and her 7.56 goals against average ranked third. She tallied double-digit saves on 14 occasions and had a career-best 17 saves in the sudden victory win over Long Beach State in the opening round of the Big West Championships (Apr. 23). For her efforts last season she was an honorable mention for All-Big West.

Sophomore Sarah Zuziak appeared in three games for the Gauchos, starting once in goal. She ended the season with 10 total saves.

The final goalkeeper is Chelsea Carrillo, a senior from 
Morgan Hill, California who appeared in four games for the Gauchos, making two starts in the goal. She averaged 9.6 saves per game.

Key Returners
Kathryn Nelson is one of six players to appear in all 30 contests for the Gauchos Last season she was third on the team with 26 goals but led the Gauchos with 41 steals and 13 field blocks.

Claire Buchanan was another one of six Gauchos to play in all 30 contests during the 2010 campaign. She had 22 goals on the season along with 49 ejections and 10 field blocks.

Senior Christie Clark posted 37 goals last season and started every game. She was ranked third on the team for steals (23) and earned penalties or ejections (30). For her efforts she earned All-Big West Second Team honors and she currently ranks seventh all-time in the UCSB record books with her 116 career goals.

Newcomers
Sammie Trenkwaddler attended Northgate High School where she was named the Diablo Valley Athletic League MVP and was a All-DVAL First Team pick. She was also named to the All-Star Team and helped her team to a second-place finish in the NCS as a freshman.

Another impressive freshman for the Gauchos is Molly Hafferkamp. She attended Piedmont High School where she was a three-time Alameda League MVP and four-time First Team All-Alameda League pick. She also earned All-North Coast Section First Team honors as a junior, where she scored173 goals, and also as a senior for her 183 goal season. For her dominating play in the pool she was named to the 2009 All-Star Senior Team.

Another freshman in the pool for the Gauchos is Emily Malin, who Played at Monte Vista High School and helped the Mustangs to four-consecutive North Coast Section titles and four East Bay Athletic League Championships.

Maddy Smith is another freshmen playing for the Gauchos this season. She played for Diablo Water Polo Club under head coach Maureen O'Toole Purcell.

These four freshmen all played together on Diablo Water Polo Club where together, they won four National Juniors Olympics titles.

Justine Ramos is the final freshmen on the Gauchos. She attended La Serna High School where she was the Lancer's team MVP and served as team captain. She was also an All-CIF Division III Second Team pick.

Rounding out the roster for the 2011 season will be sophomore Kilee Dreyer, senior Michelle Beaudreau, sophomore Katie Zakula, sophomore Selina Rivera, senior Kristin Kulakowski, sophomore Nancy Ruano, sophomore Shelby Haroldson, junior Elle Quane, sophomore Sienna van Alphen, sophomore Kacey Creek, sophomore Bryce Winton, sophomore Rachel Nelson, and junior Danielle Peeler.

After the triple-header weekend, the Gauchos will return to Campus Pool on Friday, Jan. 28 to host Michigan at 11:00 am and Concordia at 3:30 pm. Both double-header games are non-conference.

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