The UCSB men’s water polo team literally swallowed its pride this weekend after suffering losses to both UC Berkeley and Long Beach State.
The matchup against the Golden Bears last Saturday marked the first game, played in the RecCen pool with unfortunate results. California stomped on the Gauchos with a devastating score of 12-3. The 49ers defeated Santa Barbara 6-5 on Sunday.
The Bears gained possession from the start and scored within the first minute, setting the tempo for the remainder of the game. UCSB’s defense gave way to Cal’s offensive raid, save for a few outstanding blocks by freshman goalkeeper Sherwin Kim, who collected 10 saves.
“Cal had far superior energy the whole game – we never matched it,” UCSB Head Coach Joe O’Brien said.
The Gaucho offense was pained by wide passes, shots to the goalie, expiring shot clocks and a lack of communication. Even six-on-five advantages failed to result in points, and UCSB’s hesitation resulted in numerous turnovers, which Cal gladly welcomed. “Team responsibility” was a term used by O’Brien to describe what the Gauchos were lacking.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Gauchos saved face with a three-goal rally started by freshman utility Jarrod Muenter. The second string gave a good closing argument, but it was not enough.
The loss on Saturday, however, did not cripple the efforts for Sunday’s game. UCSB gathered the intensity needed to battle LBSU in a close, one-point contest.
Senior drivers Anthony Borasi and Doug Arthur teamed up to gain the goals that pinned Long Beach to a challenge. Borasi chipped in three goals on the afternoon. Kim, with 12 saves, helped provide the defensive power needed to keep the Niners at bay for much of the game.
However, after a third-quarter stalemate, LBSU finally gained the lead in the final quarter to win 6-5, leaving the Gauchos in a state of dejection as the weekend closed.