The men’s water polo team put together a well-balanced attack in knocking off #12 UCSD 13-10 (9-7 overall) at the Tritons’ home pool. The #8 Gauchos (13-7 overall, 0-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) found themselves in a tough battle throughout, but a strong fourth quarter helped them come away with a 13-10 victory.
Once again, the scoring was paced by the Gaucho youths as sophomore utility Zsombor Vincze and freshman utility Milos Golic each recorded a hat trick. Not to be shown up, the veterans contributed offensively as well. Juniors Miles Price and Mark Knudtsen teamed up with senior driver Ross Sinclair on the offensive attack as all three recorded two goals. Junior driver Dane Lindstrom rounded out the scoring by pitching in with his tenth goal of the season.
UCSD opened the scoring by netting the first two goals and taking a 2-1 lead heading into the second period. However, the Gauchos responded with four of their own in the second, capped off with a Golic strike with less than a minute to play in the half. The goal would give the Gauchos a one-goal advantage heading into the second half.
Much like the first half, the Gauchos would have to play catch-up in the third period as the Tritons got out of the gate quickly with three unanswered goals. UCSB was able to do so and rallied back with five goals of their own in the third period to take a 10-9 lead with only one period to play.
While hat tricks will get your name in the paper, defense is what wins games, and a strong defensive effort in the fourth quarter assured UCS of the road win. The Tritons failed to score in the last 7:07 of the match, a key to victory for the Gaucho team that has seen far too many close losses of late.
Heading into this game, the Gauchos had dropped six of seven, losing five of them by one-goal margins. However, the streaking Gauchos have now won two of three to gain momentum heading into this weekend’s Southern California Tournament.
The Southern California Tournament will be held at UC Irvine, with the Gauchos’ first match Saturday morning against Loyola Marymount.