As a young team with no seniors, five key freshmen on the UCSB men’s water polo team played large roles this past season. Next year, eight freshmen will join the squad, and they hope to create a large splash.
“It’s a great class, so we’re excited,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said. “It’s well- balanced by position. The only position we couldn’t get was a goalkeeper, but we have three strong keepers, so we weren’t looking for that position.”
The eight freshmen entering the team include: Nick Jordan, Max Schultz, Steve Tedson, Nick Johnson, Cameron Yates, Tor Jensen, Sjors Van Alphen and Samer Alkateb.
Nick Jordan, from El Camino High School in Sacramento, is most likely to have an immediate effect on the team.
“Nick is 6’7’’ and is a dynamic player,” Wigo said. “He can play center or center defense. He could definitely come in and could make an impact.”
Also part of the 2012-2013 recruiting class is Steve Tedsen, a two-meter defender from Righetti High School in Santa Maria. He will fill a needed position for the Gauchos.
“Steve Tedsen is a two-meter defender,” Wigo said. “We’re lacking in that position, so he could fill a role there.”
Tor Jensen could also make an impact on next year’s team. The attacker comes to UCSB from Campolindo High School in Moraga, CA.
“Tor Jensen is a strong all-around player and shooter,” Wigo said. “He’s a bit of a wild card, but he could get in there and make some contributions as well.”
With such a young team, many of the incoming freshmen may choose to redshirt.
“A lot of them will redshirt, but there’s definitely space for some next year,” Wigo said. “They’re all great kids and they’re going to help our program in the next few years.”
Several redshirt freshmen will also look for playing time next season, including attacker Bryan Snyder and goalkeeper Chris Whitelegge.
“Bryan is a guy who’s been playing really well in workouts and he’s a great scorer,” Wigo said. “And Chris is really good in the cage.”
Combined with the rest of the team, headlined by sophomore attacker Matt Gronow, junior attacker Jesse Gillespie and junior goalkeeper Myles Christian, Wigo hopes to improve on last season’s seventh place finish in the MPSF tournament. Gronow led the Gauchos last season in goals with 43 while Gillespie tallied 32. Christian anchored UCSB’s defense with 170 saves.
“We lost in the quarterfinals by one goal and we were up or tied the whole game, so we were right there,” Wigo said. “We have a lot more experience [now], so hopefully we can get that close game.”