The No. 8 UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo team had an eventful weekend, losing its first game of the season to UC Irvine before winning three in a row at the Inland Empire Classic to improve its record to 5-1 on the season.
In the team’s latest win on Sunday, the Gauchos destroyed Chapman by an impressive score of 32-6, making it a memorable win for multiple reasons. For one, it was Head Coach Wolf Wigo’s 100th win at the helm for UC Santa Barbara.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it going into that game,” Wigo said. “The most important thing is that we’re playing well and trying to get better.”
The Gauchos’ 32 goals also set a school record, topping their previous best of 30, set back in 1967. Junior Jesse Gillespie and freshman Chase Racich each made up a big part of the offensive onslaught, contributing five goals apiece.
“It was a really cool win on so many levels,” Gillespie said. “Coach’s 100th win, setting the scoring record, and everyone on the team scored.”
Earlier on Sunday, UCSB defeated tournament host Redlands 20-6. Sophomore Matt Gronow led the way with four goals, and six additional players added two.
“These high scoring games are definitely something we can keep up,” Gillespie said. “We’re a real strong offensive team.”
The Gauchos started their win streak on Saturday with a much closer 12-7 victory over Pomona-Pitzer. UCSB scored first and held onto the lead for the rest of the game. Earlier that day, Santa Barbara’s first loss of the season came at the hands of then No. 8 UC Irvine by a 13-8 score. “It was definitely a winnable game, so that was a bummer,” Gillespie said. “They’re a beatable team. We didn’t run defense how we planned and we have a lot of inexperience.”
The Gauchos will travel to Stockton this weekend for the Northern California Tournament. First up is No. 13 Concordia this Saturday at noon.