No. 5 UCSB Downs No. 15 Pomona-Pitzer in MPSF Invite Opener

Ivan Gvozdanovic (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Ivan Gvozdanovic (Photo by Tony Mastres)

STANFORD, Calif. – Facing No. 15 Pomona-Pitzer in the first of four games at this weekend's MPSF Invite, the No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team came away with a 12-7 win.

Senior Boris Jovanovic and junior Ivan Gvozdanovic equaled the entire Sagehens team with a combined seven goals, also leading the Gauchos with three steals apiece. Jovanovic added a team-best three drawn exclusions and one assist.

Backing up UCSB's stellar Serbian duo was junior Tommy Fellner, who ended the game with a brace and a pair of steals. Jesse Morrison, Jacob Halle and Adam Lott all found the scoresheet once on the day.

Jovanovic would scratch first less than three minutes into the match. After a quick Sagehens equalizer, Halle would put away his lone score of the day with 1:50 left in the first, sending his team into the second period leading 2-1.

The second frame would be the most dominant of the day for the Gauchos, as they shut Pomona-Pitzer out while scoring three more goals. All three of UCSB's goals in the period came early on, as Gvozdanovic scored twice in the opening two minutes and Jovanovic secured his brace at the 5:49 mark.

After coming out of halftime trailing 5-1, the Sagehens would open the third on a 4-1 run, coming within a single goal at 6-5 with 3:55 remaining. Once again, Gvozdanovic and Jovanovic would step up for the Gauchos, combining for three more goals before quarter's end to give UCSB a 9-6 advantage heading into the fourth.

In the final frame, two more unanswered goals from Fellner and Morrison extended UCSB's run to four unanswered, giving them a commanding 11-6 edge. Fellner would later score the final goal of the day with 1:14 left, sealing the 12-7 win.

Goalkeepers Connor Macdonald and Tiago Bonchristiano combined for seven saves. Bonchristiano tallied three playing all 16 minutes in the first half, while Macdonald had four in the second half to go along with one assist and one steal.

Santa Barbara will be back in action tomorrow for two more games, the first of which will come against No. 4 Cal at 9:20 a.m.