Senior utility Milos Golic notched his 246th career goal with the Gauchos this weekend, breaking a 27-year-old record as the #5 UCSB men’s water polo team defeated both Concordia and Harvard in a Sunday doubleheader.
[media-credit id=20108 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]The Gauchos (9-4 overall) opened the day with a tough game against #16 Concordia (6-8 overall). Despite leading the entire game, the Eagles’ toughness caught the Gauchos off guard at times.
“We weren’t motivated enough,” senior utility Zsombor Vincze said. “We aren’t ready for games against underdogs.”
The lack of motivation showed, as Santa Barbara did not appear as sharp as usual. The Eagles matched Santa Barbara goal-for-goal in the first quarter before UCSB finally took a 6-4 lead at half.
“We had trouble getting going,” sophomore utility Brian Shoemaker said. “We felt we didn’t have to work or counter as hard [as we usually do].”
Despite its sluggish start, UCSB was able to fall back on its talent and managed a 10-6 victory over Concordia.
The weekend’s biggest news though was Golic’s. The Serbian native netted a hat trick against the Eagles for his 246th Gaucho goal to break a school record set by Larry Mouchawar that has stood since 1983.
“It was never a goal of mine,” Golic said of the record. “But after two or three years it seemed possible and I wanted it.”
Although he leads his team with 31 goals, the three-time All-American insists that scoring is not the most important thing to him.
“It doesn’t matter how many goals I score,” Golic said. “It’s about team chemistry, and that must dominate all other aspects of our game.”
After the first victory over Concordia, Santa Barbara’s next contest came against the Harvard Crimson (6-11 overall).
UCSB’s offense came out of the gates strong, putting six goals on the board. The team’s defense matched its offensive effectiveness, keeping Harvard off the scoreboard in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Gauchos continue their domination on either side of the pool, as they added another three goals to bring the tally to nine. Freshman driver Cooper Smith scored his first career goal off of a penalty shot.
The Harvard offense would finally find their swagger though, scoring with 2:14 left in the first half. The Crimson then added another goal just 32 seconds later, leaving the halftime score at 9-2 in favor of UCSB.
The Crimson opened the scoring in the third quarter, but the Gauchos followed with a pair of goals from Shoemaker and sophomore utility Bret McCunney. McCunney scored two goals in the game, his first two of the year. UCSB closed the game out strong, adding another four goals to their already impressive lead. The match finished with 15 goals for UCSB to just six for Harvard.
Nine different Gauchos scored in the game, with junior 2-meter Noah Smith leading the way with four goals for UCSB. Freshman keeper Jay Lovero made his first career start in goal, allowing only two goals in the first half. The Newport Beach native had a big day, making 10 saves in the first half, including some very close saves to keep the Crimson offense at bay.
“I won’t get many opportunities this year,” Lovero said. “And I have to seize any chances I get.”
UCSB will face Stanford this Sunday at Campus Pool, which just handed #1 USC their first loss of the year.
“We will be prepared for that game,” Vincze said. “We need to prove we’re the better team.”