No. 2 UCSB on Record Watch as Home Opener, Road Tests Await

Mason McQuet (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Mason McQuet (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.
UCSB vs. Ottawa University (AZ)
All-time record vs. the Spirit: First meeting
Last meeting: None

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.
UCSB vs. No. 6 Pepperdine
All-time record vs. the Waves: 49-61
Last meeting: W, 11-5 (Sept. 7, 2019)

Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
UCSB at No. 1 Stanford
All-time record vs. the Cardinal: 10-79-1
Last meeting: L, 9-7 (Sept. 22, 2018)

Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 at 3:30 p.m.
UCSB at Fresno Pacific
All-time record vs. the Sunbirds: 4-0
Last meeting: W, 25-5 (Sept. 14, 2019)

Record Watch

UCSB has a chance to break the record for the best start to a season in program history with a win over Ottawa University of Arizona on Thursday afternoon at Campus Pool. The 1988 UCSB men's water polo team went 9-0 to start the season to set the record. Last weekend, the Gauchos tied the record with their 15-4 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the final match of the Inland Empire Classic.

Home at Last
After two-straight weekends of tournaments further south, the Gauchos are finally set to host their first home games of the regular season. The Gauchos have had a solid record in home openers in recent history, winning the past five dating back to 2014.

One Step at a Time

After the games on Thursday, UCSB travels up north to Palo Alto for a match with newly-established No. 1 Stanford. The game between the Gauchos and Cardinal will represent the second time in the same amount of weekends that UCSB faces off with the top-seeded team in the country at the time. It will also be Santa Barbara's second time facing off with the CWPA No. 1 in the span of just five matches.

Rewriting History

At the Inland Empire Classic last weekend, UCSB took down No. 1 USC for the first time since 1990 with a 13-9 win against the Trojans. After what was a neck-and-neck first half, the Gauchos pulled away in the third quarter after senior utility Ivan Gvozdanovic kicked off a 4-1 run that ultimately secured the victory. Junior attacker Cole Brosnan had five goals in the match and sophomore goalkeeper Danny Roland made 10 blocks with an assist and three steals. After that match, the Gauchos rounded out the tournament with a record-tying 15-4 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps that saw the team equal the best start to a season in program history with a 9-0 mark.

Brosnan the Great

Cole Brosnan's performances have been a major reason for the Gauchos' success over the past two weekends. At the Triton Invitational, the junior had two hat tricks to lead the pack that spread out the scoring throughout the team in the tournament. This past weekend at the Inland Empire Classic, Brosnan scored 15 goals, including his five-goal show against No. 1 USC. The attacker was named the Santa Barbara Athletic Roundtable Athlete of the Week on Monday.

Opening Their Accounts

Several natural and redshirt freshmen got off the mark over the weekend at the Inland Empire Classic, scoring the first goals of their collegiate careers. Redshirt freshman drivers Sean Rosenberg and John Rankin earned their debut goals in the Gauchos' 25-5 drubbing of Fresno Pacific, while freshman attacker Mason Chambliss put away his first in the 22-7 win over Occidental.

Climbing Up the Ranks
The Gauchos continue making moves up the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Top 20, making the jump from fourth into a tie for second place with UCLA. The Gauchos and Bruins are only behind the Stanford Cardinal in the poll, and are just two votes from the top spot. UCSB started out the season tied for seventh place with Pepperdine, but earned the fourth spot in the poll last week after winning the Triton Invitational. This is the Gauchos' highest ranking since October 2012.

Roland Earns First GCC Player of the Week Award

Last week, the GCC announced Danny Roland as the conference's player of the week for the first week of the regular season. The award comes after the UCLA transfer's 37 saves in four games helped the Gauchos win the Triton Invitational for the first time in program history last weekend. Roland made 12 saves, second-most in a single game in his collegiate career, in the first-place match against the Beach on Sunday. The San Rafael, Calif.-native also helped then-No. 7 UCSB defeat then-No. 4 Cal for the first time since 2004 with nine saves. He also had 10 saves in UCSB's second game on Saturday against then-No. 7 Pepperdine.

Preseason Poll
UCSB was predicted to finish first in this year's GCC Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Gauchos received two first place votes and 20 points overall, edging out Long Beach State and Pepperdine for the top spot. Long Beach also received two first-place votes, while Pepperdine received one. Pacific finished in a close fourth place with 18 points.

Gaucho Rewind: 2018 in Review
The Gauchos ended the 2018 campaign with an 18-8 record, including 3-1 in GCC play. After winning eight of its first nine games, the program fell short in games against top-ranked UCLA and USC before rattling off another four wins in a row. After dropping games against Stanford and USC, the Gauchos won six of their last nine games, including a pair of wins against Long Beach State and a 10-6 triumph over Pepperdine at the MPSF Invite.

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