Gauchos Host Final Three Regular Season Home Games this Week

Gauchos Host Final Three Regular Season Home Games this Week

March 28, 2011

• The Schedule
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (16-8) vs. Brown (7-7), 4 p.m.
At Campus Pool

Saturday, April 2, 2011 
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 18 Pacific (16-8), 12 p.m.
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. Alumni, 3 p.m.
At Campus Pool

Sunday, April 3, 2011 
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 16 UC Davis (16-7), 12 p.m.
At Campus Pool

• This Week In Water Polo
No. 14 UCSB will complete its six-game home stand this week at Campus Pool. The Gauchos will face Brown on Tuesday afternoon before opening Big West Conference action against No. 18 Pacific on Saturday and No. 16 UC Davis on Sunday.

• Last Time Out
UCSB was idle last weekend, but played three home games two weeks ago and came out on top each time. The Gauchos topped Bucknell, Iona and Cal State San Bernardino in a trio of non-conference contests. The wins improved the Gauchos to 6-3 in home games.

• For The Record
The Gauchos enter this weekend with a 16-8 overall mark. UCSB is currently ranked 14th nationally in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Poll.

• Big West Play Begins, Finally!
Saturday's game against Pacific will mark both teams' Big West Conference opener. Last season, UCSB compiled a 3-2 mark in conference play and finished fourth in the league's tournament, falling 7-5 in the third-place game to Pacific. The Tigers were the 2010 regular season co-champions along with Cal State Northridge after compiling a 4-1 league record. UC Irvine has won both Big West Tournament crowns since the tournament's inception in 2009.

• Nelson Notebook
Senior Kathryn Nelson continues to lead the Gauchos in goals with 43 this season and is currently averaging 1.79 per game. She posted a career-high five goals in the 11-9 win over Iona, helping propel the Gauchos to the victory. Nelson has scored in all but four contests this year and has had 14 multiple goal games. Additionally, she is second on the team in steals (28) and first in field blocks (9).

• Last Line of Defense
Sophomore goalkeeper Ruth Milne has started all 24 contests in goal for the Gauchos this season. Milne is currently averaging 11.6 saves per game and 7.1 goals against. She has had double-digit saves on 14 occasions, including a season-best 16 against Cal on Feb. 26.

• Kulakowski Continues To Roll
Senior Kristin Kulakowski has been one of the Gauchos largest offensive threats as of late. The senior has led the Gauchos in goals during four of their last seven contests. She scored four goals in the 16-8 win over Cal State San Bernardino with three coming in the fourth quarter. Kulakowski is tied second on the team in goals with 28 and is averaging 1.22 goals per game.

• Rookie of the Year
While the Gauchos' top-four scorers this season are seniors (Kathryn Nelson, Kristin Kulakowski, Christie Clark and Claire Buchanan), freshman Molly Hafferkamp is No. 5 on the team with 17 goals. The freshman has scored in the last three contests, including two goals in the win over Iona. She is currently averaging 0.89 goals per game. Hafferkamp also has seven steals and has drawn nine ejections.

• Record Watch
Senior Christie Clark's 28 goals this season have brought her career count to 144, which ranks fourth on the UCSB career-scoring list. She needs eight more goals to match No. 3 Jennifer D'Anna's career output. Kathryn Nelson (92 goals) and Claire Buchanan (87 goals) rank 12th and 15th, respectively.

• What's Next?
Following this week, UCSB will head south next Saturday, April 9 to play two games. The Gauchos will face conference foe Cal State Northridge at noon before taking-on Cal Baptist at 2:30 p.m. in a non-conference neutral site game.

• UCSB To Host 2011 Big West Championship
The 2011 Big West Tournament will be hosted by UCSB this season at Campus Pool the weekend of April 29 through May 1. This season marks the first that the conference will have an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, which will be on the line along with the conference crown.