UC Santa Barbara Hoping for Bounce-Back Season in 2016

The 2015 season was forgettable for UC Santa Barbara, traditionally one of the stronger programs in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference — and the MCLA as a whole. But the Gauchos lost 11 of their first 12 games and finished a disappointing 3-13, the team’s worst finish since going 8-8 in 2009.

But that team had nine sophomores and 17 freshman — all of whom endured what head coach Mike Allan can only hope was a learning experience. With that group returning and another strong freshman class in the fold, UCSB is hoping for a return to the program’s winning ways.

Coach Allan shared his thoughts on the 2016 Gauchos, who enter the season ranked No. 25 in the Under Armour MCLA coaches poll:

Outlook

Our goal is to compete in every drill and improve every day. I really like how well this team has come together so far, and we look forward to the journey ahead. Our seniors have given so much to this program, and I know that it means a lot for them to bounce back from last season and lead the team back to the upper echelon of the MCLA.

UC Santa Barbara Players to Watch

  • Blake Samuel, senior, attack (captain): Blake is our most experience player on offense and has been a starter since his freshman year. He’s closing in on 100 points for his career at UCSB and is a great finisher and leader.
  • Matt Hirning, senior, defender (captain): Matt is a two-time MCLA All-American honorable mention and has been a big part of our defense since his freshman year. He’s a great communicator and will see time both at close defense and long-stick midfield.
  • David Abady, senior, defender (captain; Huntington Beach HS): David is a four-year starter and our best one-on-one defender. He’s a two-time captain and great leader on the defensive end.
  • Andrew Ferguson, junior, middie (Westview HS, San Diego: Andrew is our leading returning scorer at the midfield and is one of our hardest workers. He has great vision and quickness and could play some at attack this season, as well.
  • Alex Dixon, freshman, attack (Crespi Carmelite): Alex is part of a very talented freshman class. He has the speed and scoring ability to contribute immediately for us.

Gauchos' 2016 captains (clockwise from top left)- Samuel, Hirning, Kerr, and Abady #gaucholax

A photo posted by ucsblacrosse (@ucsblacrosse) on

Local Ties

UC Santa Barbara features a number of players with SoCal connections on its roster:

Orange County
G Charles Lewis, sophomore, Foothill
D David Abady, senior, Huntington Beach
G David Swerdlow, sophomore, Sage Hill
A Wesley Kim, freshman, Irvine

San Diego County
M Colin Harvey, freshman, La Costa Canyon
M Sean Harvey, junior, La Costa Canyon
LSM Kyle Bundegaard, sophomore, Patrick Henry
M Andrew Ferguson, junior, Westview
M Ian Torbett, junior, Pacific Ridge
M David Carey, freshman, Pacific Ridge
D Dietrich Von Kaenel, freshman, Carlsbad

L.A./Ventura counties
A Alex Dixon, freshman, Crespi Carmelite
M Elliot Stanger, freshman, Culver City
D Justin Lee, freshman, Peninsula