UCSB Heads South for UC Irvine Invitational
Feb. 24, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
UC Irvine Invitational at Corona Del Mar
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (9-4) vs. No. 4 Cal (11-2), 11:30 am
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 5 Hawaii (3-2) or No. 12 Cal State Northridge (8-5), 12:45 pm
Sunday, February 27, 2011
UC Irvine Invitational at UC Irvine or Corona Del Mar
UCSB vs. TBD
The Weekend Ahead
After taking a week off from competition, the No. 15 UCSB women's water polo team will hit the road for the UC Irvine Invitational, which will be held at UC Irvine and Corona Del Mar. The Gauchos will face No. 4 Cal in the tournament's opening round.
Last Time Out
Two weeks ago, UCSB competed in the UC San Diego Triton Invitational. After losing their opening round game to Long Beach State, 5-2, the Gauchos got back on track and tallied wins over Marist, 12-3, Cal State East Bay, 9-2, and UC San Diego, 12-7.
For The Record
The Gauchos enter this weekend with a 9-4 overall mark and a 6-1 mark in games on the road. UCSB has fallen to No. 15 - from No. 12 two weeks ago - in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Poll.
The Tournament Field
The UC Irvine Invitational features 15 teams that are ranked among the nation's top-20. In addition to Cal, the Gauchos also share a bracket with No. 5 Hawaii and No. 12 Cal State Northridge and will play one of those two teams in the tournament's second round. UCSB took 11th at last season's UCI Invitational, defeating host UC Irvine, 11-3, in the tournament's 11th place game.
Senior Kathryn Nelson continues to lead the Gauchos in goals with her 24 this season and she is tied for second in the Big West Conference. Nelson has scored in all but two contests this year and has had seven multiple goal games. She scored a season-high four goals against Cal State East Bay on Feb. 13. Additionally, she leads the team in steals (21) and field blocks (5).
In addition to Nelson, seniors Christie Clark, Kristin Kulakowski and Claire Buchanan each have tallied double-digit goals this season. Clark is second on the team and tied for fourth in the Big West with 21 goals. She has had multiple goals in seven contests and has scored in the last four consecutive games. Kulakowski opened the season with a four-game scoring streak and is tied for third on the team in goals with Claire Buchanan with 11 apiece. Buchanan scored six goals at the Triton Invitational.
Last Line of Defense
Sophomore goalkeeper Ruth Milne has started all 13 contests in goal for the Gauchos this season. Milne is currently averaging 12.1 saves per game, which is tops among Big West keepers. Her 6.76 goals against average, meanwhile, ranks second in the league. She has had double-digit saves on eight occasions.
Christie Clark's 21 goals this season have brought her career count to 137, which ranks fourth on the UCSB career-scoring list. She needs 15 more goals to match No. 3 Jennifer D'Anna's career output. Claire Buchanan and Kathryn Nelson have each notched 73 career goals, which ranks 18th all-time. They need one more to move to a tie for 17th with Lindsay Knott.
After this weekend's tournament, the Gauchos will compete in the Cal Lutheran Mini Tournament on Mar. 4. The Gauchos will not return home until Mar. 19, when they host Bucknell in a non-conference game at Campus Pool.