The No. 3 UCSB men’s water polo team moved to 15-6 overall and 1-3 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with their 11-7 loss to No. 6 Pepperdine over the weekend.
“We just didn’t play well enough to win and they played great. You just have to tip your cap,” junior guard Dylan Baliani said.
With 6:04 left in the first quarter, Pepperdine opened the scoring with a goal from Matthew Detrane. Minutes later, junior attacker Matt Gronow tied the game up at 1 for the Gauchos. After Gronow’s goal, junior attacker Evan Dellinger and junior 2-meter Teddy Zhang both added goals of their own to give UCSB a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Pepperdine drew an ejection and scored a 6-on-5 goal, then adding another to tie the game at 3-3 with 5:17 left in the half. After allowing another goal, the Gauchos once again tied the game with a goal from sophomore attacker Brendan McElroy, making it 4-4.
In the closing minutes of the first half, sophomore utility Jake Miller broke the tie with a fast break goal. The Waves responded with two quick goals to take the lead 6-5 heading into halftime.
“We really struggled with our man-up advantages, making it hard to win games — especially in a game like yesterday where so many ejections were called,” senior captain Myles Christian said.
Pepperdine held UCSB scoreless in the third quarter and began to pull away. The Waves capitalized on numerous 6-on-5 advantages and scored three unanswered goals to take a 9-5 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Gauchos started the fourth quarter hot, getting goals from sophomore utility Eric Van de Mortel and Gronow. With the score at 9-7, UCSB could not hold back Pepperdine’s offensive attack. The Waves added two more goals at the end of the game and went on to win the game 11-7.
“It was an unfortunate loss, but we can’t hit the panic button yet,” Christian said. “We still have some key games coming up that we need to win to put us in position to do well at the conference tournament.”
Gronow led the Gauchos in scoring with two goals giving him 39 for the year, which is second on the team. Senior captain Myles Christian led the team in saves with 11, continuing his defensive prowess this season.
UCSB continues MPSF play in their next game against USC this Saturday at noon.