No. 7 UCSB Travels to No. 4 UCLA Friday; Hosts Air Force in Home Opener on Saturday

Boris Jovanovic (Phot by Eric Isaacs)
Boris Jovanovic (Phot by Eric Isaacs)

The Schedule
Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at 7:00pm
No. 7 UCSB at No. 4 UCLA (7-0)
at Spieker Aquatics Center – Los Angeles, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Bruins: 16-94-2
Last meeting: Oct. 13, 2016 – UCLA def. UCSB 10-7

Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017 at 12:00pm
No. 7 UCSB vs. RV Air Force (0-4)
Campus Pool – Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Falcons: 30-3
Last meeting: Sept. 3, 2016 – UCSB def. AF 20-11

Weekend Preview
The No. 7 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team begins its third week of competition with a high-profile matchup against No. 4 UCLA at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday night. The Gauchos and Bruins have a long-standing history where UCLA has been dominant, holding a 94-16-2 all-time series advantage. UCSB last defeated the Bruins on Sept. 30, 2012 in an 11-10 victory which moved the Gauchos to No. 2 in the national rankings. Last season, then top-ranked UCLA edged No. 7 UCSB 10-7 at Campus Pool despite a hat trick from Boris Jovanovic. The Gauchos are the first Top-10 ranked opponent UCLA will face this season.

On Saturday afternoon, the Gauchos welcome Air Force (0-4) to Campus Pool for their home opener. UCSB boasts a 30-3 record in the all-time series against the Falcons and won last year's matchup 20-11 at the Triton Invitational on the first day of the season. Josh Jordan paced the Gauchos against the Falcons in 2016 with four goals while Shane Hauschild netted a hat trick.   

Last Week's Results
UCSB cruised to a pair of victories at the Inland Empire Tournament hosted by Redlands over the weekend, downing No. 20 Pomona-Pitzer 13-8 before routing Occidental 22-4. The Gauchos found themselves tied with the Sagehens 7-7 at the half, but turned it on in the third and fourth periods, outscoring Pomona-Pitzer 6-1 to secure the victory. Ivan Gvozdanovic paced the offensive attack with four goals while Reed Cotterill tallied three in his season debut. Adam Lott also provided a pair of goals in the game and Connor Macdonald was key in the cage with four saves.

Against Occidental, UCSB put forth a total team effort with 13 different players scoring a goal for the Gauchos. UCSB jumped out to a 10-1 lead at the half and added seven goals in the third and five more in the fourth. Lott and Jesse Morrison led the way with three goals apiece.

Poll Position
The Gauchos dropped one spot in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Week 2 National Poll and now sit at No. 7 with 71 points after they were tied for the No. 6 spot with Long Beach State in last week's poll. Cal holds a one point edge over USC for the No. 1 spot in the ranking and Stanford is No. 3. Golden Coast Conference member Pacific comes in at No. 5 while Long Beach remains at No. 6 and Pepperdine holds at No. 8. GCC members UC Irvine moved up one spot to No. 10 and San Jose State is receiving votes.

Offensive Leaders
So far this season the Gauchos have been led on the offensive end by the trio of Shane Hauschild, Boris Jovanovic and Ivan Gvozdanovic. Hauschild and Gvozdanovic lead the team with 10 goals apiece while Jovanovic has tallied nine. After competing in the World University Games for Team Australia, Reed Cotterill rejoins the squad and tallied a hat trick in his debut over the weekend.

Defensive Leaders
Justyn Barrios has been the go-to goalkeeper to start the season and leads the team with 35 saves while Connor Macdonald has come on strong as of late and led the team with eight saves over the weekend. Shane Hauschild leads the Gauchos with five field blocks and Mason Mcquet showed his defensive prowess with four steals over the weekend.  

GCC Preseason Poll
In its second season of existence, the Golden Coast Conference returns after a successful inaugural campaign. Announced on Friday, Sep. 1 in the GCC Preseason Coaches' Poll, UCSB has been selected to finish fourth, tied with Pepperdine, as voted on by the league's six head coaches. The Gauchos, who won the regular season GCC title last season received 12 points along with Pepperdine, who won the GCC Tournament title. Pacific was selected to finish first after receiving 22 points, including three first place votes. Long Beach State was a close second with 21 points and two first place votes while UC Irvine was picked third with 18 points and one first place vote. Rounding out the conference selections was San Jose State with five points.