Fresh off a crucial come-from-behind win in overtime at No. 9 Pepperdine last week, the No. 5 ranked UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo team returns home for a set of matches against No. 3 California and No. 8 Pacific this weekend.

With last weekend’s win, UCSB improved to 14-7 and 2-2 in conference, in a good spot for playoff contention. The team’s first match against Cal will test the Gauchos’ resilience against a top-tier team riding a hot streak.

“We want this win badly,” junior attacker Jesse Gillespie said. “We haven’t beat [Cal] in a while. They’re a really good team. If we can get it, it’d be a big win. We just have to go out there as strong as we can go.”

UCSB kick starts the tough weekend on Saturday when they host Cal, a team coming in that has compiled an impressive 16-3 record (4-1 MPSF). The Gauchos will be facing a Golden Bears’ offense that leads the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in goals scored per game.

“They’re the most dangerous team offensively,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said.