No. 5 UCSB Travels to No. 10 Pepperdine Thursday, Hosts No. 3 Stanford Saturday

Nathan Puentes (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Nathan Puentes (Photo by Tony Mastres)

The Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB (11-3) at No. 10 Pepperdine (6-3)
at Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool in Malibu, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Waves: 47-61
Last meeting: W, 11-10 (OT) at Pepperdine (Nov. 10, 2017)
Live Stats | Video

Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB (11-3) vs. No. 3 Stanford (5-0)
at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Cardinal: 10-78-1
Last meeting: L, 11-5 at Stanford (Oct. 14, 2017)
Live Stats

Aggie Roundup Recap
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara finished with a 4-2 mark at the Aggie Roundup in Davis, Calif. this past weekend, outscoring its opponents 79-57. The Gauchos opened things up last Thursday with a 16-13 win over No. 11 UC San Diego in their home opener, led by a four-goal performance from junior Ivan Gvozdanovic. They went on to challenge No. 2 UCLA that same night, taking a 3-2 lead into halftime before eventually falling 10-7.

UCSB fell to No. 1 USC 10-3 in its Aggie Roundup opener on Saturday, but responded by closing the weekend out with three straight wins. That included dominant victories over Fresno Pacific, 17-10, and Chapman, 23-3, as well as perhaps the Gauchos' best win so far this year over No. 6 Pacific. Thanks to hat tricks from three different players, UCSB topped the Tigers 13-11 in overtime. 

Strong Start
At 11-3 overall, UCSB has the highest win percentage (.786) in the conference and at least five more wins than any other GCC team through three weeks of play. That already equals the team's win total from last year, when it went 11-12 overall. It's also the program's best start to a season since 2013, when it began the year 12-2. 

National Rankings
After starting the year at No. 10 in the CWPA (Collegiate Water Polo Association) Varsity Polls, UCSB has moved up five spots to No. 5. This is the program's highest ranking in nearly two years, since it was ranked No. 5 during the week of Nov. 30, 2016. In what was Santa Barbara's first season as a member of the GCC, the Gauchos finished 18-8 overall and had a perfect 5-0 mark in conference play. 

GCC Competition
The Gauchos – who were predicted to finish third in this year's GCC Preseason Poll – are 2-0 against conference foes so far this season. They defeated No. 7 Long Beach State 11-10 on Sept. 2 and most recently beat No. 6 Pacific 13-11 in overtime on Sept. 15. UCSB will look to improve upon that mark this weekend in the first of two scheduled matches against No. 10 Pepperdine. 

Jovanovic Leading the Charge
Boris Jovanovic entered the season with a team-leading 100 goals in his career, a number which hasn't stopped growing since his senior year began. Averaging a hat trick per game, the Novi Sad, Serbia native has tallied the scoresheet a remarkable 42 times in 14 games, posting 11 multi-goal efforts. He was named the GCC's Player of the Week following each of the first two weeks of competition and has a legitimate shot of going for three straight as he enters this week's competition having claimed a hat trick in five consecutive outings.