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No. 8 Gauchos Open GCC Play at No. 7 Long Beach State on Sunday

Mason Chambliss (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Mason Chambliss (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
No. 8 UCSB (6-3) at No. 7 Long Beach State (7-3)
Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center in Long Beach, Calif.
Live Stats | Watch on ESPN+

2022 UC Santa Barbara Stats

Three Straight Wins
No. 8 UC Santa Barbara earned three consecutive 12-8 victories this past week, winning at No. 13 UC San Diego on Tuesday before downing Westcliff and No. 9 Pepperdine in the Gauchos' home openers on Thursday. Sophomore Dash McFarland led UCSB with three goals in two of the three wins, while UCSB's other dominant center Sam Nangle scored in all three for a total of six goals. Nangle and senior driver Ryan Brosnan both recorded hat tricks to lead the Gauchos in their hard-fought win over the Waves on Thursday evening.

Mason Chambliss Named GCC Player of the Week
This past Wednesday, senior attacker Mason Chambliss earned the first GCC Player of the Week honor of the season for the Gauchos. The Danville, Calif. native led UCSB to two wins in three tries against top-13 ranked teams from Sept. 10-13, as the Gauchos claimed road wins of 10-9 over No. 10 San Jose State and 12-8 over No. 13 UC San Diego.

Chambliss paced UCSB with five goals to go along with two assists for the week. Against No. 4 Stanford on Sept. 11, he recorded his first hat trick of the season, accounting for nearly half of the Gauchos' seven goals. In the win over the Tritons, he scored twice and tallied two assists.

Leading the Offense
Center Sam Nangle is coming off a year where he finished fourth on the team in goals, scoring 48 times in 30 games. He has gotten off to an excellent start to his senior season, currently leading the Gauchos with 19 goals, averaging just over two per game. Following Nangle is a pair of sophomores in center Dash McFarland (15 goals) and attacker Adam Gyenis (13). A total of 16 Gauchos have scored through three weeks of competition.

Senior driver Ryan Brosnan has been the lead facilitator, tallying a UCSB-high 14 assists thus far. Tommy Hawkins (9) and Gyenis (8) trail him.

Defending the Net
Senior Danny Roland is the team's starting goalkeeper for the second straight season. The former UCLA Bruin started in 20 of his 26 appearances last year, posting an 8-7 record with 144 saves and a .444 save percentage. He racked up a ton of saves at the season-opening Triton Invitational, setting a remarkable early season-high with 13 stops to keep the Gauchos close against his former team. He has 46 saves thus far, followed by Levi Lentin with 21.

• Collegiate Water Polo National Rankings (Week 1 - Sept. 7)
1          Cal
2          UCLA
3          USC
4          Stanford
5          Pacific
6          UC Davis
7          Long Beach St.
8          UCSB
9          Pepperdine
10        San Jose St.
11        Princeton
12        UC Irvine
13        UC San Diego
14        Harvard
15        Loyola Marymount
16        California Baptist
17        Fordham
18        Brown
19        St. Francis College Brooklyn
20        United States Naval Academy

 Final Year for the Golden Coast Conference
UCSB was predicted to finish third in this year's GCC Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Gauchos received one first place vote and 17 points overall. They were slightly edged out by Long Beach State (20) which had two first place votes. Pacific (23) was picked to finish first.

Head Coach Wolf Wigo's program is also ranked eighth in the preseason Collegiate Water Polo Association National Coaches' Poll, finishing with 65 points. All six teams within the GCC are ranked in the top-12 of the national preseason poll.

This will be the final season of men's water polo within the Golden Coast Conference.

Back in Action: Season Preview
No. 8 UC Santa Barbara has had two 20-win seasons since 2007, both of which have come in its last two campaigns. On Nov. 19, 2021, the Gauchos defeated No. 13 UC Irvine 17-7 in the first round of the Golden Coast Conference Tournament for their 22nd win of the year, their most in a single season in over three decades.

There will be new opportunities for Santa Barbara as it replaces its top-four offensive producers from last season. The Gauchos' fourth-leading goal scorer from 2021 in Sam Nangle is back playing center for his senior year. A 2021 All-GCC Second Team selection, Nangle finished with 48 goals and two assists for a total of 50 points. He also led the Gauchos with 36 drawn exclusions and added nine steals and two field blocks.

Senior driver Ryan Brosnan also returns after a year in which he finished third on the team with 26 assists. The Newport Beach, Calif. native also added 19 goals, totaling the Gauchos' sixth-highest point total (45).

Sophomore attacker Adam Gyenis also returns following his GCC All-Freshman Team campaign. The Budapest, Hungary native was the sixth Gaucho to reach 30 goals last season, also contributing with 13 assists, five steals, and a second-leading six blocks.

Goalkeeper Danny Roland also returns for his senior year. Last season, Roland played in every game, starting in 20 of 26 appearances. He finished with an 8-7 record while totaling 144 saves, 17 steals and eight assists.

Senior attacker Mason Chambliss and Men's Junior World Championship participant for the US national team Dash McFarland are also back in the lineup as the Gauchos look to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990.