The USCB men’s water polo team may be young, but they’re not about to use some excuse about rebuilding this year. They want to win now.
The Gauchos are coming off of a 12-5 thrashing of Redlands on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Campus Pool, improving their overall record to 3-5. While Santa Barbara was satisfied by the victory, the team now has to look ahead to matches against No. 4 UC Irvine and No. 8 Long Beach this weekend in the Northern California Tournament hosted by UC Berkeley.
Despite the tough competition, UCSB has high aspirations. Redshirt freshman driver Conor Coughlan knows the squad has various obstacles to overcome but remains optimistic.
“We’re a young team, but we’ve got some talent, some potential,” Coughlan said.
Others on the team have more specific goals in mind.
“We’re hoping to go undefeated at home and maybe qualify for the NCAAs,” redshirt freshman driver Chris French said.
Considering that 10 of the 19 roster players are first-year players, the Gauchos will rely heavily on the leadership and contributions of the team’s seniors.
One senior in particular will have a major influence upon the younger charges: driver and defender Anthony Borasi.
“Anthony’s the oldest guy on the team,” Coughlan said. “He’s a great leader.”
Borasi enjoyed a solid game on Sunday, contributing two goals and making several standout defensive plays to lead the Gauchos to victory.
“He’s really good at leading by action,” French said of Borasi. “He shows us the intensity and skill needed to win.”
Borasi is coming off a fourteen-goal season that earned him the Most Improved Player award for the third consecutive year. He also scored twice in the Gauchos’ 12-7 win over Hawaii on Sept. 10
Other major contributors on Sunday included senior driver Doug Arthur and sophomore driver Andrew Schoneberger, who combined for five goals, matching the entire offensive output of Redlands. Freshman goalkeeper Sherwin Kim contributed ten saves on fifteen shots.