The UCSB men’s water polo team will look to ride the momentum of a second place finish last weekend in the SoCal Tournament when they face Iona and Harvard Sunday.
The Gauchos are currently 12-3 overall, the best start for the team since 1993.
“It’s a long season, but we’re hungry for an NCAA championship and we have the team to do it,” junior two- meters Dylan Baliani said.
After overcoming higher ranked UCLA and Stanford last weekend, the Gauchos were rewarded with a No. 2 ranking, behind only USC. The ranking is the best for Santa Barbara since 1979.
“It feels great,” Baliani said. “It’s like all that time and work we put in during the preseason has paid off. We’re stoked but not quite satisfied.”
After last weekend’s success, the Gauchos’ task is to remain focused on their upcoming opponents.
“Staying focused in practice and not squandering the opportunity to be the top in the nation was a big point made in practice this week,” junior Evan Dellinger said.
The next test for UCSB will come this Sunday as it faces Iona and Harvard.
Coming off a 13-6 loss in its most recent game against Cal Baptist, Iona sports a 3-10 record. Ion’as biggest threat is sophomore Jake Lloyd, who leads the Gaels with 24 goals in eight games so far this season. The Gauchos’ next opponent, Harvard, has a record of 12-6 and is coming off a 3-1 run at the Bison Invitational hosted by Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Harvard’s two notable players are Jimmy Field and Ben Zepfel. Field is a junior goalie with 96 saves and Zepfel is a freshman who has scored 43 goals on the season.
Sunday’s matches against Iona and Harvard are set for 9 a.m. and 12.pm, respectively.