The #6 UCSB men’s water polo team started the season by improving to 2-0, dominating #11 UC San Diego 16-6 in a nonconference game at Campus Pool in the team’s home opener on Sunday.
“It was a great performance,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said. “Everyone played really well and we are looking forward to bigger and better things this season.”
Senior utility Milos Golic opened the first period with two goals, extending a scoring streak that began last season to nine consecutive games.
Following early second period goals by Golic and senior utility Zsombor Vincze, the Gauchos stretched their lead to 5-0. Vincze’s score — the first of five in the game — extended his own scoring streak to five consecutive games.
“When you have the two leading scorers in the country [Golic and Vincze] on your team, it’s extremely hard for the defense to mark two players of that caliber,” Wigo said.
Heading into halftime with a 7-3 lead, Wigo decided to make a change at the goal. Senior goalkeeper Fraser Bunn, who had 10 saves at halftime, was substituted out for sophomore goalkeeper Myles Christian.
“I am equally confident in both of our goalies, and both will continue to get playing time as long as they are playing well,” Wigo said.
The second half featured much of the same for the Gauchos. Although the Tritons managed three goals in the third period, Santa Barbara was able to extend its lead to 12-6.
In the fourth period, UCSB continued to punish the Tritons on the defensive end, shutting out the squad for the entirety of the period. The Gauchos ended the match with another 5-0 run.
“We have known for a while that this is going to be a great year,” Wigo said. “That is the way we wanted to start our season off: with the ultimate goal of winning the NCAA championship.”
The Gauchos will play UCSD again on Sept. 18 at 12 p.m. in the first round of the NorCal Tournament at UC Berkeley.