1979 Team to be Honored, Match to be Streamed as No. 4 Gauchos Face No. 5 Trojans

Nathan Puentes (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Nathan Puentes (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 at 12 p.m.
No. 4 UCSB vs. No. 5 USC
All-time record vs. the Trojans (W-L-T): 21-91-2
Last meeting: Sept. 15, 2019, No. 4 UCSB def. No. 1 USC 13-9

Video | Live Stats

• UCSB vs USC to be Livestreamed

The match between No. 4 UCSB and No. 5 USC will be livestreamed on Big West TV. A link to the broadcast is available in the link above or on the men's water polo schedule page. As always, live stats will be available and can also be found above or on the schedule page.

• Watch Party!

Sunday's game is sold out, but a watch party hosted by UCSB Athletics will take place at Woodstock's Pizza Isla Vista for Gaucho fans looking to cheer on their team. There will be giveaways and food and drink specials throughout the watch party. Woodstock's Pizza Isla Vista is located at 928 Embarcadero del Norte.

• Remembering 1979

The 1979 NCAA national champion UCSB men's water polo team will be recognized prior to the starting lineup announcement at Sunday's match. This is the 40th anniversary of the team's NCAA championship, the first Division I title in UCSB history, in which they beat UCLA in the final 11-3. In addition to Sunday, they will also be honored at halftime of the men's soccer match vs Cal Poly on Saturday night.

• Alumni Game

The annual UCSB men's water polo alumni game will take place following UCSB's tilt with USC.

• Seeking a Second

The Gauchos are looking for their second win this season over the Trojans after having defeated them for the first time since 1990 earlier in the season at the Inland Empire Classic. 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. The last time the Gauchos defeated USC at least twice in a season was 1981, when UCSB defeated the Trojans four times.

• MPSF SoCal Invitational Recap

The Gauchos played their first-ever matches as the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) No. 1 at the MPSF SoCal Invitational last weekend. They were successful in their opening two matches, defeating No. 20 San Jose State and No. 6 Pepperdine on the first day, but suffered their first defeats of the season against No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Pacific on the second and third days of the tournament.

• Stat Zone
The Gauchos are nearly doubling their opponents goals on a per-game average basis, with UCSB averaging 14.71 goals per game and opponents averaging 7.47 per match. The Gauchos have been off to hot starts in games, outscoring opponents 75-36 in the first period. The first quarter is Santa Barbara's largest margin of difference with its opponents, resulting in a +39 advantage overall. The third quarter is the smallest, but UCSB still has a +18 margin. Cole Brosnan leads the team in goals and points with 38 and 45, respectively. Ivan Gvozdanovic is the leader in steals, with Mason McQuet, Nathan Puentes, and Ryan Brosnan in a three-way tie behind him.

• Record Setters

UCSB broke the record for the best start to a season in program history, previously set by the 1988 team that went 9-0 to start the season, with its win over Ottawa University of Arizona on Sept. 19 at Campus Pool. Santa Barbara also set a new record for the longest single-season winning streak after having won all 13 of its games on the season. The streak ended at 15 games, with the final win coming over No. 6 Pepperdine on Sept. 19. The previous mark was 12 in a row, set by the national championship-winning 1979 team.

• A Knack for Knocking Off the Top Dogs

The Gauchos stormed into Avery Aquatic Center on Sept. 20 and defeated then-No. 1 Stanford for UCSB's second win over a top-ranked opponent in just five days. Nathan Puentes scored a fourth-quarter hat trick to secure the 15-10 upset over the Cardinal in a match they controlled from the outset, leading 3-1 at the end of the first quarter and 6-2 at halftime.

At the Inland Empire Classic on Sept. 14-15, UCSB took down then-No. 1 USC for the first time since 1990 with a 13-9 win against the Trojans. 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.

• Opening Their Accounts

Several natural and redshirt freshmen got off the mark on Sept. 14-15 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.

• Accumulating the Accolades

Junior attacker Leo Yuno earned the Gauchos' third Golden Coast Conference Player of the Week award on Sept. 26. He was selected for the award after his monster four-goal, two-assist performance helped the Gauchos defeat their second No. 1-ranked opponent, the Stanford Cardinal, within the span of five days. The previous day before the Stanford match, Yuno played a crucial role in securing Santa Barbara's victory over then-No. 6 Pepperdine in their exhilarating 16-15 overtime match. His two goals, including the go-ahead goal with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter, and three assists came up big for the Gauchos as they battled to avoid the upset. In the Gauchos' final match of the weekend at Fresno Pacific, he recorded two goals in the team's 21-7 victory over the Sunbirds. In total, he racked up eight goals and five assists over the Gauchos' four games last week, while totaling 18 shots and tacking on a steal.

The Gauchos have earned three of the four GCC Player of the Week awards so far this season, with redshirt freshman goalkeeper Danny Roland and junior attacker Cole Brosnan taking home the award in weeks one and two, respectively.

• 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.

• Gauchos in the Media

Remembering UCSB's Championship Teams, Santa Barbara Independent https://www.independent.com/2019/09/24/remembering-ucsbs-two-championship-teams/

UC Santa Barbara Aims to Replicate Gauchos' 1979 NCAA Championship Run, Swimming World Magazine https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/uc-santa-barbara-aims-to-replicate-gauchos-1979-ncaa-championship-run/

On the Record with Wolf Wigo, UC Santa Barbara Men's Water Polo Coach, Swimming World Magazine https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/on-the-record-with-wolf-wigo-uc-santa-barbara-mens-water-polo-coach/

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