Gauchos Travel to SSU, Resume Big West at No. 11 UC Davis

Shannon Moran (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Shannon Moran (Photo by Tony Mastres)

The Schedule
Thursday, Mar. 28, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
Sonoma State (6-9) vs. No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (17-5)
at Dr. G. Edward Rudloff Pool in Rohnert Park, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Seawolves: 7-0
Live Stats

Saturday, Mar. 30, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.
No. 10 UC Davis (13-9) vs. No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (17-5)
at Schaal Aquatics Center in Davis, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Aggies: 24-22
Live Stats

UCSB Ties Season-High, Wins Fourth Straight Game
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara tied a season-high with 15 goals in a 15-10 win over Cal State Monterey Bay on Monday, led by four-goal performances from senior Kate Pipkin and freshman Caitlyn Snyder. For the third time this year, the Gauchos scored at least three goals in all four quarters and as a result claimed their third different four-game winning streak. Senior Sarah Kreiser added a hat trick of her own, while Kate Coski chipped in with two goals.

March Perfection?
At 17-5 overall, the Gauchos head into their second weekend of Big West competition with the highest winning percentage (.773) in the conference. They defeated No. 10 UC Irvine in their Big West opener on Mar. 9 by a final score of 6-5, starting conference play with a win for the first time since 2015. UCSB can end the month of March with a perfect 6-0 mark with wins this week over Sonoma State and No. 11 UC Davis. The Gauchos have never lost in seven tries against the Seawolves and have already beaten UC Davis this year, 11-5 on Feb. 10. UCSB has gone 4-1 against the Aggies since 2016.

Offensive Leaders
Junior utility Sarah Snyder has been UCSB's most consistent offensive player this season, totaling team-highs in goals (49), points (53), shooting percentage (.570), and drawn exclusions (25). She is one of two Gauchos to be named Big West Player of the Week this year, having earned the honor following the first weekend of the season. Right behind her on the statsheet is senior utility Kate Pipkin with 52 points. Pipkin's 31 goals are the third-most on the team, while her 21 assists are tied for first with senior Sarah Kreiser.

Kreiser is coming off her second hat trick of the season at CSUMB, giving her the third-highest point total on the team with 44 (23 goals, 21 assists). Also carrying a significant share of offensive responsibilities is attacker Amanda Legaspi, who has totaled 41 points. The freshman out of La Verne, Calif. has had one of the most productive freshman seasons in recent years, sitting right behind Snyder for team-highs in goals (34), shooting percentage (.523) and drawn exclusions (19). She is one of just three Gauchos to have crossed the 30-goal mark so far this season.

Defensive Leaders
Goalkeepers Becca Buck and Kenzi Snyder have split time at goalkeeper for the second straight year, and have done a solid job defending the cage, holding opposing teams to seven goals or fewer in 16 of 22 games, including one shutout. Snyder has tallied 112 saves, posting an 11-5 record. She has recorded a season-high 13 saves twice, including her outstanding performance in Mar. 9's win over UCI which resulted in her first Big West Player of the Week honor. Buck meanwhile has a perfect 6-0 mark thus far and 79 saves.

Along with being the Gauchos' top sprinter, attacker Mollie Simmons has also been active on defense, leading the Gauchos with 26 steals to this point. Seniors Sarah Kreiser (20) and Kate Pipkin (17) come in second and third on the team in steals. Kreiser also leads the team with 13 field blocks, three more than any other Gaucho.

Gauchos Historic Regular Season
UCSB has racked up 17 wins through its first 22 games, something the program has not done since at least 1996. That can be attributed to a hot start out of the gates which saw the Gauchos post a 9-1 record through their first 10 games. Santa Barbara's dominant opening weekend resulted in its first 4-0 start since 2013. There have been only four other times in the last 24 years that UCSB has started with a 4-0 record.

Ranked Opposition
The reason for Santa Barbara's historic rate of winning is the fact that the Gauchos have risen to the challenge against top-ranked teams this year. The Gauchos are currently 12-5 against ranked opponents and 4-4 against teams which entered the matchup with a higher ranking. So far, the Gauchos have earned "upset" wins against Indiana, Wagner, Arizona State and UC Irvine.

National Rankings
After starting the year with a No. 17 preseason ranking in the CWPA national polls, UCSB jumped to No. 10 through just one week of play, the second-largest jump of any team in the country. The Gauchos currently stand at No. 9, currently the second-highest ranking among Big West teams. They have seen as high as a No. 7 ranking this season, their highest since May of 2016.

Six Straight
The Gauchos opened the month of February by winning its first six games, awarding them their first six-game win streak since the start of the 2013 season. It was just the sixth time UCSB went on a run of six straight wins since 1996. The Gauchos are currently riding a four-game win streak, their third different one this season.

We're Shooting First
UCSB has been nearly unbeatable in sprints this year, thanks in large part to sophomore Mollie Simmons. The former Orange Lutheran High School standout has gone won 72 sprints this year, while losing just six.

No-Goal Zone
UCSB's 14-0 shutout win over Iona on Feb. 3 was the Gauchos' first shutout of the season and their third in the last two years. Prior to 2018, UCSB hadn't recorded a shutout victory since Feb. 15, 2003 in a 10-0 win over George Washington.

Big West Players of the Week
Following a standout opening weekend performance in which she scored at least two goals in all five appearances, junior utility Sarah Snyder was named the first Big West Player of the Week of the 2019 season in late January. The Gauchos' leading scorer from last year, Snyder picked up right where she left off, finishing with team-highs of 14 goals and nine drawn exclusions while leading the Gauchos to a 4-1 record at the UCSB Winter Invite. She put together back-to-back four-goal, one-assist efforts, helping UCSB to convincing wins over Indiana and Wagner, teams which held higher preseason rankings than the Gauchos. For the second straight year, a Gaucho kicked off the Big West PoW awards with a win following the Winter Invite, as Snyder followed in the footsteps of current teammate and senior captain Sarah Kreiser.

After tying a season-high with 13 saves in a thrilling 6-5 Big West opening win over No. 10 UC Irvine on Mar. 9, UCSB junior goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder has been named the Big West Player of the Week for the first time in her career. The Santa Ana, Calif. native was nearly unbeatable down the stretch, stopping a penalty in the fourth quarter along with stifling a handful of shots from point blank range. Her efforts helped UCSB erase a 3-0 first half deficit and close things on a 6-2 run to knock off the Anteaters for the first time in three tries this season. Snyder improved to a 10-5 record as a starter on the year.

Trust The Process: Shannon Moran
We sat down before the start of the season with senior Shannon Moran to talk about her experiences with water polo, community service, and her role as a leader being one of the team's three co-captains in 2019. Read the feature story and watch the interview by clicking here.

2019 UCSB Women's Water Polo Statistics