Gauchos Carry No. 4 Seed into BWT First Round at No. 5 Long Beach State

Kate Pipkin (Photo by Minette Rubin)
Kate Pipkin (Photo by Minette Rubin)

The Schedule
Big West Tournament First Round
Friday, Apr. 26, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
No. 5 Long Beach State (15-14, 1-4) at No. 4 UC Santa Barbara (20-7, 3-2)
at Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center in Long Beach, Calif.
All-time record vs. the 49ers: 22-26
Live Stats 
| Video | Tickets | Tournament Central Page

With a Loss...
Big West Tournament Fifth Place Match
Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.
vs. either: No. 3 UC Davis (17-11, 3-2) or No. 6 CSUN (14-17, 0-5)

With a Win...
Big West Tournament Semifinals
Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.
vs. No. 1 UC Irvine (18-8, 4-1)

With a Loss in the Semifinals...
Big West Tournament Third Place Match
Sunday, Apr. 28, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.

With a Win in the Semifinals...
Big West Tournament Championship Match
Sunday, Apr. 28, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.

Gauchos Take Down No. 13 LBSU in Regular Season Finale
After heading into the fourth quarter tied 2-2 with Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara pulled away with four consecutive goals to open the final frame en route to a 6-3 win in the regular season finale. Senior Kate Pipkin led the offensive charge with two goals, while goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder was stellar once again, holding the 49ers to just three goals while tallying nine saves.

Tournament Time
At 20-7 overall and 3-2 in league play, the Gauchos were the only Big West team to reach 20 wins during the regular season. On Friday at 1:00 p.m., they will carry the No. 4 seed into a rematch with No. 5 Long Beach State (15-14, 1-4), a team they just defeated 6-3 in their regular season finale last Saturday. Members of this Gaucho squad will be eager to get back in the pool to face the 49ers, the team which ended UCSB's shot at back-to-back championships in 2017 and that has knocked UCSB out of the Big West Tournament First Round in each of the past two seasons. LBSU hosts this year's tournament at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center. The 49ers are led by freshman Orsi Hertzka, whose 67 goals this year were tops in the conference and good for fourth all-time in program history. With a win, the Gauchos would advance to face No. 1 UC Irvine in the Big West Tournament Semifinals on Saturday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m.

Capping Things Off
The 2019 season began and ended with a Gaucho named Snyder taking home Big West Player of the Week honors. First, it was junior utility Sarah Snyder, who put up team-highs of 14 goals and nine drawn exclusions while leading the Gauchos to a 4-1 record at the season-opening UCSB Winter Invite. Now, after tallying nine saves and one steal and holding Long Beach State to just three goals in last Saturday's 6-3 win, goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder took home her second Big West weekly award of the season. The three goals allowed were two fewer than UCSB's previous conference season-low of five, set in a 6-5 win over No. 7 UC Irvine on Mar. 9. Kenzi tied a season-high with 13 saves in that game.

On The Attack
It's been a year to remember for Sarah Snyder, who heads into the postseason with the third-highest goal total in the conference of 65, averaging just more than 2.4 per game. She is the only Gaucho in the last six years to reach the 60-goal mark, finishing the regular season with 21 multi-goal outings, 11 hat tricks, and seven four-goal efforts in just 27 appearances. The Fresno, Calif. native also leads UCSB in points (72), shooting percentage (.596), and drawn exclusions (30).

Trailing Snyder closely on the statsheet is senior utility Kate Pipkin with 69 points. Pipkin is one of three Gauchos to reach 40 goals this season, while her 29 assists are good for second on the team. Senior Sarah Kreiser has also put up big numbers this year, coming in third in points (58). She joins Pipkin as the only Gauchos with at least 30 goals and 10 assists this season, currently with 32 goals and 26 helpers.

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 .506 shooting percentage.

As the season has worn on, Caitlyn Snyder has only continued to improve. She closed the regular season with seven multi-goal efforts in her last 10 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 is currently tied for third in the conference with 30. She enters the postseason with 13 assists over her last five games. The younger Snyder has tallied 57 points this year, 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 an excellent job defending the cage, holding opposing teams to seven goals or fewer in 18 of 27 games, including one shutout. They have spearheaded a defensive unit which allows just 5.9 goals per game to opponents, easily the lowest average in the Big West. Snyder has tallied 145 saves, putting her at fourth in the conference, and owns a 14-7 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 31 steals to this point. Senior Sarah Kreiser comes in second on the team in steals (29) and leads the way with 14 field blocks.

Gauchos Historic Regular Season
UCSB's regular season ended in historic fashion. The Gauchos became the only Big West team with 20 wins during the regular season, reaching that mark for just the fourth time since 1996. Santa Barbara hit 20 wins in just 27 outings. That was six games faster than any of their previous 20-win seasons over the last 24 campaigns. 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. UCSB'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 14-7 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 fourth-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 92 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.

Clear Bag Policy
If you are planning to attend the Big West Tournament at Long Beach State, please be aware of LBSU's "Clear Bag Policy." Approved bags are clear plastics, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed 12"W x 12"H x 6"D. Also acceptable: one-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (ziploc bag or similar); small clutch bags approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap; diaper bags (infant for which bag is being carried must be present). All other bags are porhibited when entering Long Beach State Athletics Facilities.

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