Saturday, Apr. 13, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. (PT)
No. 5 Hawaii (15-5, 3-1) vs. No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (19-6, 2-1)
at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex in Honolulu, Oahu
All-time record vs. the Rainbow Wahine: 8-26
Gauchos Dominate at CSUN
Last Saturday, UC Santa Barbara picked up its sixth win in seven games on Saturday, defeating No. 22 CSUN 19-8. Three different Gauchos recorded hat tricks, led by junior Sarah Snyder's sixth four-goal performance of the season. Senior Sarah Kreiser and freshman Caitlyn Snyder added three goals each. After concluding the opening period leading by just one goal, UCSB's offense would explode in the second frame. The Gauchos outscored the Matadors 7-1 in one of their most lopsided quarters of the season, leading to their biggest conference win thus far.
Big West: The Home Stretch
At 19-6 overall and 2-1 in league play, the Gauchos head into their fourth conference matchup at Hawaii with the most total wins of any Big West team and the highest overall winning percentage (.760). The Rainbow Wahine own the highest national ranking in the Big West at No. 5, and are currently tied for the conference's top seed with a 15-5 overall, 3-1 Big West record, The Gauchos currently own the No. 3 seed, but still control their destiny in terms of landing the No. 1 seed, given they win out. A top-two seed will give the Gauchos a first round bye in the Big West Tournament (Apr. 26-28). UCSB is 8-26 all-time against Hawaii.
On The Attack
It's been a year to remember for junior utility Sarah Snyder, who with two games left in the regular season is tied for second in the Big West with 60 goals, averaging 2.4 per game. She is coming off a first quarter hat trick and her seventh four-goal performance of the season at CSUN, which made her the first Gaucho in the last six years to reach the 60-goal mark. She enters the Hawaii matchup with eight goals over her last two games. The Fresno, Calif. native also leads UCSB in points (66), shooting percentage (.594), and drawn exclusions (28) and is one of two Gauchos this season to have been named Big West Player of the Week.
Trailing Snyder closely on the statsheet is senior utility Kate Pipkin with 61 points. Pipkin's 36 goals are the third-most on the team, while her 25 assists are second. Senior Sarah Kreiser has also put up big numbers this year, coming in third in points (54). She joins Pipkin as the only Gauchos with at least 30 goals and 20 assists this season, currently with 30 and 24.
Freshmen Making Waves
Right behind the veterans on the statsheet are a pair of freshmen standouts in attacker Amanda Legaspi and utility Caitlyn Snyder. Legaspi's tremendous start out of the gates saw her put away nine goals through her first three career games. That included a six-goal outburst in a season-opening win over California Baptist which remains a Gaucho season-high. Her seven hat tricks are second only to Sarah Snyder (10), as are her 39 goals and .527 shooting percentage.
As the season has worn on, Caitlyn Snyder has only continued to improve. She has eight multi-goal efforts in her last 13 appearances, after doing so zero times through her first 12 career outings. Perhaps more importantly, she has jumped to third on the Big West assist charts, recording 11 of her team-leading 28 helpers over her last three appearances. Her 53 points are fourth-most on the team.
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 17 of 25 games, including one shutout. They are also allowing just 5.7 goals per game to opponents, easily the lowest average in the Big West. Snyder has tallied 138 saves, putting her at fourth in the conference, and owns a 13-5 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 92 saves. Her 4.4 goals against average places her in the top-five of the Big West.
Along with being the Gauchos' top sprinter, attacker Mollie Simmons has also been active on defense, leading the Gauchos with 29 steals to this point. Senior Sarah Kreiser (26) comes in second on the team in steals and leads the way with 14 field blocks.
Gauchos Historic Regular Season
UCSB has racked up 19 wins through its first 25 games, something the program has not done since at least 1996. The program has maxed out at 20 wins on three occasions since then, a mark it could potentially surpass this season. The historic rate of winning 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.
Another reason for Santa Barbara's high win rate is the fact that the Gauchos have risen to the challenge against top-ranked teams this year. The Gauchos are currently 13-6 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.
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. 11, the third-highest ranking among Big West teams. They have seen as high as a No. 7 ranking this season, their highest since May of 2016.
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.
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 84 sprints this year, while losing just six.
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, junior goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder was 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.
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.