Gauchos Show Their Potential in San Diego

This is the first of two trips the Gauchos plan to take to San Diego. Their season started just this past Monday, one week before they had to go up against Southern California powerhouse the University of California Los Angles (UCLA).

Having to cut practice short for the week to avoid “Carmageddon II,” the Gauchos had little time to prepare for the Bruins. This was most evident in Saturday morning’s score, UCLA taking down UCSB 15-5.

What the score doesn’t show is the developing team that the Gauchos are shaping up to be. Leading this year’s club team is Junior Captain Sam Hock (San Diego, Ca.). Starting with him are returning Seniors Sean Cope (Oceanside, Ca.), Matt Ingham (San Diego, Ca.), Chris Schmuckal (San Diego, Ca.), Juniors Ryan Long (Covina, Ca.), Patrick Therrien (Visalia, Ca.) and Sophomores Taylor Earwood (Los Angeles, Ca.), Jackson Carter (San Anselmo, Ca.), and Brad Katz (Santa Cruz, Ca.). Rounding out the starting group are newcomers Grant Gucinski (Aurora, Il.), Cooper Smith (Roseville, Ca.), and Ian Kistler (Santa Barbara, Ca.). Absent from this weekends competition were David Schmidt (San Jose, Ca.) and Alex Semplinski (San Jose, Ca.).

UCSB had little time to rest for after lunch they faced off against long time school rival Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The last time the Gauchos matched up against the Mustangs it was for the first game of last year’s division championships. In that game UCSB fell to Cal Poly 6-5 in a nail biting triple over time match up.

This time around it was the Gauchos who took control. Scoring first was local student athlete, Ian Kistler. He and Sean Cope each had 2 goals in the first half and 1 in the second half of the game. Ryan Long scored in the second and the third quarter to bring the lead to 9-4 over Cal Poly. Returner Chris Schmuckal netted 1 goal and newcomer Cooper Smith scored both in the third and in the fourth quarter. In the net goalkeeper Taylor Earwood tallied 5 saves, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. UCSB won with a score of 13-7.

On Sunday morning the Gauchos went up against tournament host UCSD. Last year the Tritons finished ahead of UCSB and this year they started the season polling in at #9 on the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) National Top 20.

From the start of the game the Gauchos took control, winning the sprint and scoring first. Cooper Smith lead off; he and Freshman Charlie Wood (Palos Verdes, Ca.) each sank 3 shots in the game; Sam Hock and Sean Cope scored twice. The Tritons kept up the pressure but couldn’t get closer than 2 points within the Gauchos’ lead. Grant Gucinksi, Chris Schmuckal, Freshmen Patrick Mayles (Coronado, Ca.) and Matt Thornton (Manhattan Beach, Ca.) each scored 1 point apiece. As in the Cal Poly game, UCSB outscored the Tritons in three of the four quarters. UCSB made 10 steals and goalkeeper Taylor Earwood made 5 saves. The Gauchos won 15-8.

After a long trip, sleeping on couches, with only 3 days of practice and after already playing 3 grueling games, UCSB finished the weekend playing San Diego State University (SDSU). Although the Spartans finished ranked below UCSB last year, it was clear they were ready to fight for the win. SDSU never took the lead away from the Gauchos, but UCSB’s control over the ball, both on offense and defense, wavered and showed off the team’s fatigue; this helped the Spartans keep the score close.

Cooper Smith, Sean Cope, and Ryan Long each had two goals apiece against SDSU. Ian Kistler and Chris Schmuckal scored one each. It was much more of a defensive battle for the Gauchos. Coming out on top was UCSB goalkeeper Taylor Earwood who racked up 9 saves, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. The Spartans fell 8-6.

Traveling with the team were club rookies and Freshmen Jon Nicoloff (Imperial Beach, Ca.), Dylan Glave (Mill Valley, Ca.), Adam Honore (Oxnard, Ca.) and Cooper Crese (Lompoc, Ca.). Along with a crop of new comers left back on campus, the UCSB club water polo team is growing in numbers, in talent and in potential.

The Gauchos will be hosting a scrimmage this Saturday, 1:00pm, Campus Pool at UCSB.

CWPA League play will resume October 13-14 at San Diego State University. A schedule for that weekend’s tournament can be found at click here.

The Men’s Water Polo Club at UCSB is a student run organization. As a member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association, the Gauchos compete in the Pacific Coast Division against other collegiate club programs from around the country.

Practices are Mon.- Wed, 7:00 – 9:00pm @ the Campus Pool, UCSB

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