Campus Pool has not been kind to the UCSB men’s water polo team, as the No. 5-ranked squad dropped a pair of matches against No. 3 Berkeley and No. 8 Pacific at home this weekend.
Both contests resulted in one-goal defeats for the Gauchos, as they lost 8-7 to Cal and 9-8 to Pacific. UCSB falls to 14-9 (2-4 MPSF) on the year.
“The top nine teams in the country are all in this conference,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said. “There is no easy game.”
A Tiger attack with three goals in the fourth period put Pacific ahead for good with 4:31 left on the clock.
Freshman utility Nick Tomasello nearly tied it up with a minute in the game, but bounced his shot off the goal post, leaving the goalkeeper to wrap it up and secure the victory for Pacific.
“I tried to squeeze it in,” Shoemaker said. “It was on the goal line and I guess the referees didn’t call it in.”
Shoemaker led the Gaucho offensive attack with three goals in the game, while junior attacker Jesse Gillespie added two for UCSB.
With the victory, Pacific improved to 11-10 on the season and notched their first conference victory (1-4 MPSF) after narrowly upsetting No. 1 UCLA before losing in sudden death overtime.
While Sunday’s defeat saw UCSB give up a late lead, Saturday’s match against Cal (17-3, 5-1 MPSF) featured a Gaucho comeback that fell just short in the final minutes.
Cal led 7-5 entering the fourth quarter, but UCSB battled back to tie it at seven apiece before sophomore attacker Collin Smith scored the game-winning goal for Cal with 3:02 left in the game.
“It just shows how much we’re improving,” junior goalkeeper Myles Christian said. “Usually it’s actually a really bad outcome for us when we play Cal.”
Christian recorded nine saves for UCSB in a match where scoring seemed to come at a premium. After Cal erupted with five goals in the second period — with two coming from senior attacker and leading scorer Ivan Rackov — the Gauchos put the clamps on, holding the Golden Bears to one goal in each of the remaining periods.
“We’ve improved so drastically that we’re consecutively up there with one point games and hopefully we’re going to start winning them now,” Gillespie said.
UCSB remains at home for a match against Irvine this Saturday, Nov. 12.