The UCSB men’s water polo team saved its worst for last with an eighth place finish in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament this weekend in Palo Alto, Calif.
The eighth-seeded Gauchos fell Friday 6-1 to #1 UCLA who were undefeated coming into the tournament. On Saturday, Long Beach defeated Santa Barbara in double overtime 14-12. UCSB played its last game of the season against Cal on Sunday for seventh place only to lose 7-6. The Gauchos end their season with an 18-14 overall record and 2-6 conference record.
Saturday the Bruins came out strong, scoring five goals in the first and leaving the Gauchos trailing 5-0 going into the second half. UCLA silenced the Santa Barbara’s offense until 3:55 was left in the third quarter when senior utility Brian Alexander netted UCSB’s only goal of the day.
Saturday’s match up between the 49ers and the Gauchos was a repeat of the mid-season match up that also went into overtime with the Beach emerging victorious. Fourth-seeded Long Beach lagged behind as UCSB scored three goals to Long Beach’s two in both the first and second quarters. The halftime break proved to be just what the 49ers needed – they came back forcefully scoring four goals in the third quarter with help from Reid Tomassi, who led all scorers with six goals in the match.
The score was tied 8-8 as the teams headed into the fourth quarter of play, and it was the Gauchos who scored first to earn the two goal advantage with 4:35 to go in regulation. The 49ers scored at the 4:16 mark and then again with 1:55 to go in the fourth. Neither team scored, forcing the decisive overtime periods.
Brad Scoles led the way for the Beach in overtime scoring two of their three first period goals. The two goals that Santa Barbara netted in overtime fell short and the 49ers won their second overtime decision over the Gauchos this year.
Sophomore driver Ross Sinclair and junior utility Chris Gronow scored three goals each for the Gauchos. Junior goalie Jon Bonafede had 10 saves in goal for UCSB.
The Gauchos had one more chance Sunday competing against Cal for a seventh-place finish. The teams started off slow with Santa Barbara putting up the only goal of the first quarter. One quarter was all it took for the Golden Bears, who scored four goals in the second quarter, giving them the 4-2 lead going into the second half. Thanks to what would be the game-winning goal from John Mann, Cal had the 7-5 advantage with 3:49 left in regulation.
Alexander put the Gauchos to within one goal with his fourth goal of the game at the 53-second mark, but UCSB was unable to capitalize on it. Bonafede notched 13 saves in goal.
The eighth-place finish ends the 2004 campaign for the Gauchos, who lose Alexander and senior driver Andrew Schoneberger to graduation.