February 15, 2007

UCSB Returns Home to Host Irvine, Cal State San Bernardino

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Feb. 15, 2007

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The Schedule:
Saturday, February 19, 2007-
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 10 UC Irvine, 11 a.m.
at UCSB's Campus Pool

No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. Alumni, 2:30 p.m.
at UCSB's Campus Pool

No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. Cal State San Bernardino, 4 p.m.
at UCSB's Campus Pool

Home Sweet Home
The Gauchos play their first game at home this season after being on the road the past two weekends. First up for UCSB is an early season peak at Mountain Pacific Sports Federation competitor UC Irvine at 11 a.m. The Gauchos will enjoy a playful game against some visiting alumni before taking on Cal State San Bernardino at 4 p.m.

Swimming in Competitive Waters
Santa Barbara made its annual migration to San Diego, Calif. last weekend to participate in the highly touted Triton Invitational. The Gauchos played four games -- three of which against opponents who were ranked higher than them -- and finished with a 3-1 record on the weekend. UCSB opened the tournament using a third period 4-0 run to upset then-ranked No. 12 Santa Clara, 9-7. The Gauchos dropped the next game of the day No. 6 San Diego State after the Aztecs scored a last minute goal to take the match, 8-7. UCSB had a perfect Sunday taking the first game of the day against unranked Michigan, 7-4. The Gauchos exacted some revenge over No. 12 Hartwick, which had upset UCSB the weekend before, with a 12-6 demolishing of the Hawks.

Movin' On Up
After beginning the season with a 12 ranking, the Gauchos dropped from to No. 16 after losing 6-5 on Feb. 3 to then-ranked No. 15 Hartwick. UCSB's successful weekend -- that included an upset over Hartwick, a win against No. 12 Santa Clara and a close loss to No. 6 San Diego State -- did not go unnoticed. The Collegiate Water Polo Association rewarded the Gauchos for their 3-1 Triton Invitational performance by moving them up to No. 12 in the national rankings.

Senior Power
Seniors center Sarah Kovach and attacker Aimee Stachowski lead the Gaucho scoring brigade with 10 and six goals, respectively. Kovach led all Gauchos in San Diego last week with six goals. The Roseville, Calif., native scored in three games last weekend including a game-high three goals in the narrow 8-7 loss to then-ranked No. 6 San Diego State. Stachowski helped Santa Barbara to the 9-7 defeat of then-ranked No. 12 Santa Clara with three goals. With the seniors topping the Gaucho squad in goals only two weeks into the season, there should be more things in store from the class of 2007.

Sister, Sister
The Clark sisters -- utilities senior Zizi and freshman Christie -- are making waves in their first year playing together as Gauchos. Zizi scored four goals last weekend, three of which came in the upset over No. 12 Santa Clara. Younger sister Christie has already proven her worth. The Atherton, Calif. native is tied for third on the team with five goals on the young season. Head Coach Danielle Altman expects good things from Christie, who "brings an intensity and an innate knowledge of the game."

Speedy Gonzales
Junior goalkeeper Jenny Gonzales was another Gaucho who had a great weekend but in the cage instead of open waters. Gonzales, who started and played all four games for Santa Barbara, amassed 36 saves in goal. Gonzales is now averaging 7.2 saves per game, which is fourth in the MPSF.

Poolside With Coach Altman
Head Coach Danielle Altman enters her fifth season at the helm of the UC Santa Barbara women's water polo team in 2007. Under her tutelage, the 2006 Gauchos finished the season with an overall record of 18-17 and were ranked 14th in the Collegiate Water Polo Association National Coaches Poll after placing 10th in the ultra-competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The 2006 season was the second consecutive winning season for Altman at UCSB marking the first pair of back-to-back winning seasons for the Gauchos in recent program history (1996 or later).

Scouting the Anteaters
No. 9 UC Irvine, which took third place in the Triton Invitational, will be a formidable opponent for UCSB. The Anteaters' only loss on the new season came last weekend against No. 11 Loyola Marymount, which defeated Irvine 7-8 in triple overtime. Irvine senior two-meter Jackie Prine earned MPSF/Mikasa Player of the Week honors this week for her performance in the San Diego tournament. The Sacramento, Calif. native scored in each of Irvine's games, accumulating nine goals on the weekend and has notched a goal in the last 15 matches in which she has played, good for third place on Irvine's all-time list.

Scouting the Coyotes
Cal State San Bernardino is 2-5 thus far with wins coming over Redlands and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Junior driver Sabrina Marquez gave a solid performance against Claremont -- contributing five goals to lead the Coyotes to their second win of the year.

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