Gauchos predicted to finish fifth in MPSF by coaches

The UCSB men’s water polo team was picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings according to a preseason coaches’ poll released by the conference on Wednesday.

The Gauchos received 32 points in the poll, 10 behind fourth-ranked UCLA and six points ahead of Pepperdine and UC Irvine, which were tied sixth.

USC, the 2008 NCAA Champion and MPSF Champion, was ranked first with six first-place votes and 61 total points. No. 2 Stanford received the remaining three first-place votes and received 59 total points. Cal completes the top-three with 51 points.

The Training RoomLong Beach State (16 points) and Pacific (11 points) round out the poll, ranking eighth and ninth respectively.

UCSB’s fifth ranking likely reflects its finish in the 2008 year-end standings. The Gauchos tied Cal for fifth in league with a 4-4 conference record and then took fifth in the MPSF Tournament last November.


Santa Barbara is expected to return 12 players from last year’s squad that went 17-11 overall. Among the returnees is First Team All-American Milos Golic, who led UCSB and the conference with an average of 3.03 goals per game last season. Rejoining the active roster after redshirting last season is Zsombor Vincze, a two-time MPSF Honorable Mention.

Other key returnees include junior goalkeeper Fraser Bunn, senior drivers Sean Castilloand Stefan Partelow, sophomore two-meter player Noah Smith and redshirt freshmanBrian Shoemaker.

Seven incoming freshmen were signed National Letters of Intent by head coach Wolf Wigo during the off-season, several of which have the potential to make an immediate impact.

The men’s water polo season will begin on Sept. 5-6 at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational where the Gauchos will face the host Tritons in the first round.


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