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December 3, 2003
Santa Barbara, CA

Fall hockey is complete. How did the Gauchos match up to their expectations?

For the A team it was a season of highs and lows, full of big wins and disappointing losses. The year began with the traditional WCRHL Kickoff in Upland and a 5-3 trouncing of Monterey Peninsula College, the first time these two teams have met. Chapman University would claim yet another late game win against the Gauchos in the second game of the tournament with a 7-9 squeaker with a last minute goal and an open net score. UCSB would rebound by defeating Berkeley 7-2 in a decisive game to conclude day one of the tourney. Day two would hold more disappointment for the Gauchos as they couldn't pull out a win against powerful visitor Colorado State, though not for lack of trying. The Rams would eventually win 7-4 in a very physical game but not before UCSB would make a statement with their puck movement and speed.

Santa Barbara's second event of the season, a traditional road trip to northerly Sonora, would prove to be much the same. Opening the tournament with a disappointing loss to rival Cal Poly SLO, the Gauchos could not climb out of a hole they dug for themselves with sluggish and sloppy play and lost 2-6. The day worsened with a 4-6 loss to Chico State, made the more painful in that the last two goals came in the last two minutes of regulation. One high point of the game, though, was the inspired physical play of the smaller Gauchos against the traditionally tough Wildcats. With two losses coming into the game against impressive Division III newcomer Moorpark College, things were not looking good for the team. Santa Barbara would rally, though, with some more dominating physical play and impressive puck control to squeeze out a 5-5 tie. They would end the day with a nailbiting 6-5 win over surprising UC Davis, who earlier upset Cal Poly SLO 10-6.

The third event of the season, at Huntington Beach's Coast 2 Coast, would spotlight the Gauchos as one of the best teams in the WCRHL. Opening up with back to back 9-1 victories over Berkeley and visiting Arizona State, the Gauchos would head into their highly anticipated matchup with last year's Division I National Champions Cal Poly Pomona (who were riding a seven game win streak at the time) with momentum. They carried that momentum into the game by opening up a lead over the stunned Broncos 7-2 at the end of the second period, and would hold off a furious late game rally from Pomona to preserve a huge 7-5 win. Unfortunately, the Gauchos would suffer the loss of junior defenseman Derek Kokubun from an ejection, and both senior defenseman Greg Franks and junior defenseman Jonathan Tu were injured in the game. That would prove to be enough to allow Chapman University another win over UCSB in the last game of the event, 5-7.

Some outstanding players from the first half of the season were sophomore forward Gordon Jack, junior defensemen Greg Snelling and Derek Kokubun, and sophomore defenseman Yu Matsumoto. Both freshman goalies, Jason Green and Sean Seal, have turned in some great performances. Overall, the season thus far has been a success, with UCSB sitting comfortably in fourth out of an eleven team field. The Gauchos face three tough upcoming tournaments, though, with rematches against Pomona, SLO and Moorpark as well as an eventual showdown with powerful Cal State San Bernardino. They will also be one of sixteen teams chosen to represent the NCRHA at the 2004 NARCh Winternationals at the Crystal Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, where they will play the best that collegiate roller hockey has to offer. The season is far from over, but for right now, Santa Barbara can rest assured that the first half of the year has gone well.

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Watch as the Recreation Center II and our indoor SportCourt facility develop. This picture album will grow as the construction progresses. The opening date is set for Fall/Winter quarter of 2004-05.