SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Four members of the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team earned a spot on the various 2018 All-Golden Coast Conference teams, including a program record-tying three Gauchos on the All-GCC First Team, it was announced on Tuesday.
Among seven First Team selections in the conference, driver Boris Jovanovic, utility Ivan Gvozdanovic and goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano all earned the recognition for the first time in their careers. Pacific received two First Team selections, making it the only other GCC school with more than one.
Also taking home postseason recognition was attacker Leo Yuno, who was chosen for the All-Freshman Team. Yuno's 24 goals this season were the fourth-most on the team, while his 44 points and 17 assists both ranked third.
Jovanovic was an offensive force since the first weekend of his senior season, as he averaged just under a hat trick per game (2.96 goals/gm) en route to leading the GCC with 77 goals on a .430 shooting percentage. The 77 goals were tied for the seventh-most in a single season in program history. That pushed his career total to 177 goals overall, good for No. 5 all-time at UCSB.
On fire right out of the gates, he became the first player in conference history to be named the GCC's Player of the Week three straight times, doing so in the first three weeks of the season. Jovanovic finished his senior year with 20 multi-goal efforts in just 26 games.
Joining him on the First Team was fellow Novi Sad, Serbia native Ivan Gvozdanovic. While Jovanovic earned his second All-Conference nod, the junior Gvozdanovic took home the third of his career after finishing second on the team with 73 points and tallying 48 goals on a .381 shooting percentage. His 25 assists were tied for No. 4 in the conference entering the final week of play. He also led the team in the steals department, again ranking in the conference's top-5 with 37, and tied for team-high honors with seven field blocks.
Goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano was extremely solid defending the cage all year, leading the Gauchos to a 14-7 record as a starter this season. The Brazilian native accumulated 149 saves – good for a top-five spot among GCC goalkeepers – on a .558 save percentage. A handful of times, his clutch stops kept the Gauchos ahead in tightly contested games, helping give UCSB four wins this season by two goals or less.
The last time the Gauchos had three All-Conference First Team selections came in 2016, UCSB's first season in the conference. That year, Jovanovic and Gvozdanovic were both All-GCC Honorable Mentions and the Gauchos also went 18-8 overall, tying with this year's Gauchos for the program's highest win percentage (.692) since 1991.