The #7 UCSB men’s water polo team defeated #10 Pepperdine by a score of 11-10 on senior day.
Santa Barbara jumped out to a fast start, outscoring the waves 5-1 in the first period. Senior utility Zsombor Vincze padded his team lead of goals, netting a hat trick in the first quarter.
The Gauchos lost their motivation after the first period, and allowed six goals, while scoring two for a score of 7-7 at half.
From there the game was a cat and mouse affair as UCSB kept trying to pull away only to have the Waves keep catching up.
With only eight second left in the game, Pepperdine had the ball and were threatening to score. However, senior goalie Fraser Bunn made a terrific header save to earn Santa Barbara its first won in nearly one month.
Despite the win, some of the team were disappointed with how close the final result was.
“It’s a disappointing game for us,” freshman driver Matt Gronow said. “Yeah we won. But Pepperdine is a lower tier team and we were brought down to their level.”
“After the first quarter we all talked and said let’s make it closer for the crowd because it’s senior day,” Vincze said. “It’s more exciting that way. We also wanted Fraser to make a save in the last few seconds and make it decisive so he can have a good senior day too.”
UCSB will take the seventh seed into the Conference Tournament next week where they will play #2 USC. The Gauchos are 0-2 against USC this year, but both games have been close and they remain confident.
“Hopefully we can get a little payback,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said.