Over the weekend the UCSB men’s water polo team hit the road, traveling to Santa Cruz on Friday and improving their record 11-7, and then giving fourth ranked Stanford a competitive match on Saturday.
The score of Friday’s game was 18-9, as the team played hard and won big. In the game junior utility Brian Alexander scored six goals, and senior whole set Steve Traverso scored three.
“The game was never in question,” the UCSB Head Coach Joe O’Brien said.
For a team that tends to start slow, UCSB came out strong from the beginning; the score was 6-0 in the first quarter.
“The game was a blowout from the beginning,” senior driver and captain Doug Arthur said.
The game allowed the team to work on things they needed to.
“We came out prepared, they couldn’t stop us at all,” said Traverso.
On Saturday, the ninth ranked Gauchos lost to Stanford 7-10 in their first league game in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Junior driver Andrew Schoneberger, Alexander and Arthur all scored goals.
Santa Barbara couldn’t break Stanford’s “impressive defense” according to O’Brien. Unlike their last games against Stanford, the Gauchos were unable to utilize their size advantage to create mismatches, which hurt them offensively.
“They accomplished all their power plays, 0-9, they played with energy, it was difficult for us,” O’Brien said.
Throughout the first three quarters of the game, the Gauchos did not play strong.
“We don’t want to be a second half team, we are working on playing stronger from the beginning,” Arthur said. “The team really brought the game back in the fourth quarter. We stepped up our intensity, and if we play all our quarters like we played our fourth we would be unstoppable.”
The Gauchos have a tough road ahead since UCSB’s water polo league, the MPSF, is considered home to the top nine teams in the country.
“The rest of our games are against people ranked above us,” O’Brien said.
But captain Doug Arthur remained confident.
“Everyone is beatable,” Arthur said.
On Saturday the team will be playing at UCLA, and on Sunday at Pepperdine.