It was a rough weekend for the Gauchos, as Men’s Water Polo lost Saturday’s conference matchup against No. 6 Pacific as well as Sunday’s regular season match versus No.4 Cal. Both matches were on the road this week and, unfortunately, both were dropped by only a single point.
Beginning with Saturday’s Golden Coast Conference game, the Pacific Tigers opened up first quarter scoring with a pair of goals from utility sophomore Luke Pavillard and junior attacker Luis Araya. In response, UCSB closed out the rest of quarter with a triplet of their own, as senior driver Boris Jovanovic put away two and junior utility Ivan Gvozdanovic netted one as well.
The second quarter featured more of the same as the Tigers briefly returned the tally in their favor after freshman attacker Eli Lule scored and Araya added on another. Gauchos’ junior attacker, Jacob Halle, would then score with 3 minutes left before the half; bringing it all level once more at 4 apiece.
The latter half proved to be in UCSB’s favor as the Blue and Gold outscored the hosts 4-2. All different scorers in this one as sophomore defender Mason McQuet, sophomore attacker Cole Brosnan, junior driver Tommy Fellner, and Jovanovic again, all notched one in; bringing the Gauchos ahead by only a score of 8-6.
UCSB’s advantage only grew at the beginning of the fourth and final quarter, as two more from Brosnan extended the Gaucho lead to 10-6. However, a streak of 4 goals by Pacific would ultimately tie things up late as they turned the tables on Santa Barbara. With two minutes left in the game, UCSB responded as a goal by Fellner gave the visiting side the lead once more.
Unfortunately for Santa Barbara, it wasn’t enough to take back momentum as the on-fire Tigers set up a pair of goals from Pavillard, with the game-deciding score coming in at 39 seconds left on the clock. Thus, granting Pacific the 12-11 home win; which was enough to earn them second (2-0) in GCC standings and knocking UCSB down to third place (1-1).
Sunday’s match featured even more back and forth as UCSB visited the Cal Bears; the third time these two sides faced each other this season. Cal jumped ahead early with a quick 4-2 start, thanks in part to a brace from junior attacker Jordan Hoover who would go on to earn a game-leading in scoring with 6 to his name.
Jovanovic and Gvozdanovic would both earn their second goals of the day as they helped the visiting Gauchos to bring the score back within one, as their team trailed 6-7 by the halfway mark. Jovanovic would also go on to score a team-leading 5 of his own by the end of the match.
The third quarter had hopes high as the Gauchos briefly tied it all up at 8-8 as Jovanovic’s third paved the way for a potential flip in momentum. Still, the Bears fought back for a 2-goal buffer as the hosts closed out the quarter with a 10-8 lead.
Although the Gauchos would ultimately go on to lose in the final quarter by only a score of 12-13, they played with resilience against a nationally higher ranked side who drastically outscored them all year long.
UCSB stays at home this week, as the Gauchos continue their Golden Coast Conference campaign versus Long Beach State.