Santa Barbara’s club water polo team traveled to Los Angeles on Oct. 15 to partake in #9 UCLA’s season opening tournament.

After dropping to ninth from a #5 ranking in the Men’s Collegiate Club Top 20 Poll thanks to a 10-3 loss to #3 Cal Poly last week, the Bruins hosted the Gauchos in one of the most hotly contested matches of the tournament. The Gauchos scored the first goal of the game within the first minute of play, but UCLA bounced back quickly by taking the lead 4-2. Santa Barbara managed to regain the lead by halftime, however, notching a goal just before time expired to make it 5-4. The Gauchos were able to hang on to the close lead in the second half with the help of solid defense. Outscoring the Bruins 3-1 in the second half, Santa Barbara took command of the water, eventually upsetting UCLA 8-6. Freshman driver Byron Markel led the Gauchos with a team-high three goals in the match.

Later in the day, Santa Barbara shared the water with UCLA’s crosstown rival, USC. In a game far more lopsided than their upset victory earlier in the day, the Gauchos pummeled the Trojans 18-8. Thanks to superior team speed, the UCSB counterattack was able to generate 12 goals off of the sluggish Trojans. Senior driver Frank Hurd connected for a tournament-high five goals in the game, finishing the day with seven total. Junior driver and team captain Brian Featherstun recorded two goals in the game as well. Superior goalkeeping held on to the Gauchos’ massive lead through the entire game, as freshmen James Higgins, Chase Motley and sophomore Kyle Shobe split time throughout the day.

Santa Barbara will travel to San Luis Obispo this weekend, as they take on perennial powerhouse Cal Poly on Oct. 26 in a match that could have league title implications.

For information about UCSB’s club water polo team, including information about joining the team, e-mail team captain Brian Featherstun at
– Jeff Gibson,
with contributions from Brian Featherstun