Gauchos Clamp Down on Defense in 11-7 Win Over No. 8 LBSU

Ivan Gvozdanovic (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Ivan Gvozdanovic (Photo by Jeff Liang)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team completed a three-game series sweep of No. 8 Long Beach State on Friday behind a dominant second half shutout and four more goals by senior Boris Jovanovic.

Santa Barbara (17-8, 2-1) claimed an 11-7 win – its biggest win over the 49ers this season – thanks in large part to nine huge saves from goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano. No player was more instrumental in the Gauchos' 6-0 run to close out the game, as the Brazilian native came up with several improbable stops from point-blank range.

Jovanovic meanwhile finished with at least three goals for the fourth straight outing, giving him a whopping 75 goals through 25 games this season. Now at 175 scores for his career, he moves into No. 6 on the UCSB all-time charts.

Backing up Jovanovic was fellow Novi Sad, Serbia native Ivan Gvozdanovic, who stuffed the stat sheet with threes across the board in goals, assists and steals. Tommy Fellner finished with a brace, opening the scoring in both the first and fourth quarters. Mason McQuet and Leo Yuno both tallied a single goal on power plays.

Following a 3-3 stalemate in the opening period, Long Beach would close the second on a 4-1 run to take a 7-5 advantage. Needing a spark, UCSB would turn to its defense, coming out of the halftime break with renewed energy on that end and forcing numerous 49er turnovers.

All three goals in the third would belong to the home side, as Yuno, Jovanovic and McQuet put UCSB up 8-7. Long Beach would again fail to scratch in the fourth, as Fellner scored and Gvozdanovic added a pair of late goals to seal the second half shutout and send the Gauchos home winners.

With the win, UCSB is now 7-1 against GCC opponents this season. With two games remaining this year, the Gauchos head south next Friday for their road finale at UC Irvine. They will return home for their final home game on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Pepperdine.