The UCSB men’s water polo team defeated the University of the Pacific 10-3 on Sunday at the RecCen pool, allowing the Gauchos to compete in the MPSF Men’s Water Polo Tournament.
“It was a good game, the guys came out aggressive and defended the goal,” UCSB Head Coach Joe O’Brien said.
Santa Barbara took down five power plays in the first quarter, proving that the Gaucho power play defense is at the top of its game. Seniors driver Doug Arthur and two-meter Steve Traverso both scored in the first quarter to give UCSB a 2-1 lead.
In the second quarter, freshman goalkeeper Rick Wright made two incredible saves, one right after the other to maintain the one-goal cushion. Junior driver Brian Alexander scored two goals in the second quarter and junior driver Andrew Schoneberger nailed one, giving the Gauchos the lead heading into halftime with a score of 5-2.
In the second half, five more goals were scored; freshman two-meter Matt Dale, freshman driver Matt Tilburg and sophomore driver Ian Christensen each tallied a goal. Alexander finished the half with his third and Traverso with his second goal of the day. Finishing off the game strong, Santa Barbara secured the 10-3 victory. Wright posted seven saves for UCSB.
“We did so well because we played an unselfish game, and we had good team defense,” Arthur said.
By winning this game the Gauchos will travel to Long Beach to play #1 USC in the 2003 MPSF Men’s Water Polo Tournament. Sunday’s win over the Tigers was the eight-nine seed play-in game. By winning the contest, Santa Barbara earned the right to move on as the eight seed and compete in the conference tournament.
“The guys are excited, USC has size and speed, but we will play hard and really take it to them,” O’Brien said.
“We lost to USC by two goals, and we could have played better. We have nothing to lose. They have to win. We want to spoil their record,” Traverso said.