STANFORD, Calif. – The No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team improved to 2-1 at the MPSF Invite, defeating No. 9 Long Beach State 11-9 shortly after being topped by No. 4 Cal 19-8.
UCSB vs. Long Beach State
The Gauchos ended day two of the MPSF Invite facing No. 9 Long Beach State (7-8, 0-1), a team they downed 11-10 during the opening weekend of the season. Saturday's rematch would follow a similar script, with neither team holding a lead of more than three goals as UCSB came away with the 11-9 win.
It was the 49ers who struck first though, grabbing the second of two unanswered goals out of the gates midway through the first quarter. However, Yuno and Gvozdanovic would give Santa Barbara some momentum heading into the second period, securing two goals within the span of 69 seconds. Gvozdanovic's equalizer with 59 ticks left in the quarter tied things at 2-2, and Long Beach would not lead the rest of the way.
Jovanovic would strike with his lone score of the day at the 6:21 mark of the second quarter, giving the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 3-2. Follow-up goals from Brosnan and Gvozdanovic would send UCSB to the half leading 5-4.
The 49ers refused to go away, tying things up three different times in the third. After beginning the final frame with the game all knotted up at 7-7, UCSB would enjoy its best quarter of the day when it mattered most.
Three straight goals from Gvozdanovic, Brosnan and Adam Lott gave UCSB the separation it needed, taking back control with a 10-7 advantage. Gvozdanovic would cap things off with his fifth goal of the game with 3:48 to go.
Sophomore goalkeeper Connor Macdonald finished with 10 saves to lead the Gaucho defense.
UCSB vs. Cal
Santa Barbara's first game of the day consisted of another rematch, this time against a Cal team out to a 14-2 start to the season. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the Bears would take control of the game early, scoring the first four goals of the first quarter en route to a 19-8 win.
Sophomore Jesse Morrison provided UCSB's only goal of the opening period, hitting paydirt with 1:33 left on the clock. Although Jovanovic and sophomore Jack Bignell would both find the scoresheet in the second period, the Gauchos would trail 12-3 heading into halftime.
UCSB would look strong coming out of the break, outscoring the Bears 4-3 in the third. The first four and a half minutes saw Mason McQuet, Leo Yuno and Connor Moynihan all score for the first time in the game, cutting Cal's lead to 12-6. Morrison and Yuno would both go on to secure braces over the final 11 minutes of the game.
The Gauchos will close their four-game slate at the MPSF Invite in the fifth-place game against No. 8 Pepperdine, a team they defeated in overtime 16-14 back on Sept. 20. The game is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and will be streamed here.