No. 11 UCSB Hosts No. 13 LBSU on Senior Day Saturday

Photo by Minette Rubin
Photo by Minette Rubin

The Schedule
Saturday, Apr. 13, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. (PT)
No. 12 Long Beach State (15-12, 1-2) at No. 11 UC Santa Barbara (19-7, 2-2)
at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the 49ers: 21-26
Live Stats 
| Video

Gauchos Fall in Road Finale
No. 11 UC Santa Barbara was handed just its second loss in eight games at No. 5 Hawaii last Saturday by a final score of 15-9. Despite junior utility Sarah Snyder recording her third straight hat trick to lead the Gauchos, a 7-0 Rainbow Wahine run to close the first half saw the home side pull away. Senior Kate Pipkin and freshman Caitlyn Snyder added two goals apiece.

Senior Day Finale
At 19-7 overall and 2-2 in league play, the Gauchos head into their regular season finale with the most total wins of any Big West team and the second-highest overall winning percentage (.731). No. 13 Long Beach State (15-12, 1-2), which will play two games this week, is one of two Big West teams with a sub-.500 record during conference play. The 49ers have dropped two straight at home, to No. 9 UC Davis, 7-10, and Hawaii, 15-7. They are led by freshman attacker Orsi Hertzka, who with 62 goals this season is just one shy of Sarah Snyder and UC Irvine's Tara Prentice for the Big West lead. The 49ers own a 26-21 advantage in the all-time series with the Gauchos.

On The Attack
It's been a year to remember for junior utility Sarah Snyder, who heads into the final game of the regular season tied for first in the Big West with 63 goals, averaging more than 2.4 per game. She is the only Gaucho in the last six years to reach the 60-goal mark and is coming off her fourth consecutive hat trick at Hawaii. The Fresno, Calif. native also leads UCSB in points (70), shooting percentage (.594), and drawn exclusions (29) 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 67 points. Pipkin's 38 goals are the third-most on the team, while her 29 assists lead the way. Senior Sarah Kreiser has also put up big numbers this year, coming in third in points (56). She joins Pipkin as the only Gauchos with at least 30 goals and 20 assists this season, currently with 31 and 25.

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 40 goals and .513 shooting percentage.

As the season has worn on, Caitlyn Snyder has only continued to improve. She has seven multi-goal efforts in her last nine appearances, after doing so zero times through her first 12 career outings. Her assist numbers have seen a huge increase in production of late, as she sits right outside the Big West top-5 with 28 this year. Prior to the Hawaii game, she had tallied 11 assists over her previous three outings. Snyder's 55 points are fourth-most on the team.

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 17 of 26 games, including one shutout. They are also allowing just 6.0 goals per game to opponents, easily the lowest average in the Big West. Snyder has tallied 144 saves, putting her at fourth in the conference, and owns a 13-7 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 97 saves. Her 4.9 goals against average is the lowest of any Big West goalkeeper that has appeared in more than five games.

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 comes in second on the team in steals (27) and leads the way with 14 field blocks.

Gauchos Historic Regular Season
UCSB has racked up 19 wins through its first 26 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.

Ranked Opposition
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 13-7 against ranked opponents and 4-5 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. 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.

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.

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 88 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, 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.

2019 UCSB Women's Water Polo Statistics