Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014
No. 8 UCSB vs. No. 12 UC Irvine, 12 p.m.,
at Anteater Aquatics Complex
Last Meeting: W, 11-7 (Nov. 2, 2013)
Late Season Drama
No. 8 UC Santa Barbara (9-12, 0-7 MPSF) will travel down to face off against No. 12 UC Irvine (14-11, 1-6 MPSF) in a must win match for the Gauchos. Held without a conference victory, Santa Barbara will need to win this weekend's contest against Irvine to capture its lone MPSF conference win of the season and build positive momentum heading into next weekend's MPSF Championships.
Outside Help Needed
The MPSF Championships will have a new feature to its tournament as the conference will implement what it calls the Play-In-Game. The Play-In-Game is a wild card match that will have the bottom two teams in conference play against each other for the eighth seed in the tournament.
UCSB will need a stellar performance against the Anteaters this weekend along with two losses against Pacific in order to avoid the Play-In-Game. Beating Irvine by at least four goals and having the wanted result of No. 7 Pacific losing to both No. 2 Stanford and No. 10 Pepperdine will greatly help the Gauchos and its seed in the upcoming tournament.
Senior Day Recap
The Gauchos hosted its final home match of the season in last weekend's contest against No. 10 Pepperdine. Before the match, UCSB held a ceremony for its four seniors, Eric Van de Mortel, Brendan McElroy, Ryan Baliani and Mark Garner as they embarked on their final match at Campus Pool.
Scoring the first goal of the match with a quick strike from freshman Shane Hauschild, the Gauchos hit the Waves with early pressure. Pepperdine answered right back and dominated the remaining first period as the visitors took a 3-1 lead after the opening frame.
After a defensive period where no teams could put the ball in the cage, the third period opened with another Gaucho goal from junior, Nicholas Jordan. Trailing 4-2 midway through the period, UCSB once again cut into Pepperdine's lead with a strike from senior, Ryan Baliani. Baliani netted his second goal of the period in the closing seconds to cut into Pepperdine's lead, 5-4.
The game slipped away for a moment in the final period as the Gauchos conceded three unanswered goals to the Waves. Trailing, 8-4, junior Bryan Snyder took control and scored the last three goals for the Gauchos. Pulling within one of the lead with :14 seconds remaining, UCSB aimed to pull off a miraculous comeback. After a last second lob goal from Pepperdine, the Gauchos suffered a narrow and surprising defeat to Pepperdine, 9-7.
Irvine boasts a high octane offense that is led by sophomore, Lovre Milos. The top scorer in the MPSF with 84 goals through 24 matches, Milos is a legitimate force. Irvine boasts other gifted offensive players as sophomore Matt Skinner, and senior Jacob Mourer also crack the top 25 MPSF rankings in goals scored.
Equally impressive to Milos and the Irvine offense are the Anteaters' personnel in goal. Junior goalkeeper Dylan Peterson leads conference in the saves category with an average of 12.03 saves per game. A freshman, Byron Rivers is second in the rankings with an average of 11.95 saves per contest while also allowing only 87 goals against him this season.
A Balanced Attack
Freshman attacker Shane Hauschild continues to lead the Gauchos offense with 27 goals while also ranking second on the team with 16 assists. Snyder is having his best season thus far with a total of 22 goals in the campaign. Baliani is leaving his mark in his final season as the Murrieta, Calif. native has tallied 21 goals. Fellow senior Brendan McElroy leads the squad with an impressive 25 assists to go with his 16 goals.
Whitelegge Approaching Number 200
After another match with double digit saves, junior goalkeeper Chris Whitelegge continues to be a steady presence for the Gauchos defense. The 6-1 keeper posted 12 saves in last weekend's defeat to Pepperdine; bringing his season total to 196 saves. Whitelegge ranks eighth among the goalies in the MPSF for total saves.
Championship Season is Here
After its slated match against Irvine, UCSB will head down to Long Beach State to compete in this year's MPSF Championships. The end of the season tournament will take place during Nov. 21-23. If the Gauchos pull away with the title of being champions, the team will have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.