SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The UCSB (2-0) men's water polo team has started the 2015 season off strong with back-to-back wins on the first day of the Triton Invitational. The Gauchos started the day with a 8-7 victory over Air Force and later defeated Long Beach State 7-6.
The UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team kicked off their 2015-16 season debut with a win against Air Force in the first game of the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Diego.
The Gauchos were down 0-1 two minutes into the game, but quickly matched Air Force with a goal from senior Liam Gaughan, bringing the score to 1-1 at the two-minute mark in the first quarter. With under 30 seconds to go in the first period, the Gauchos executed a power play on an Air Force ejection, resulting in a goal from Borislav Jovanovic, and bringing the Gauchos on top going into the second quarter.
Air Force started the second quarter with another quick goal, but the Gauchos tallied another point to keep their lead with a 6-on-5 goal from senior Attacker Derek Shoemaker.
With three minutes to go in the second quarter, the Gauchos earned another ejection and again scored on a power play with a goal from senior Anthony Buljan, putting the Gauchos up by two.
One possession later, Air Force followed suit, capitalizing on a Gaucho ejection and bringing the score to 4-3.
With under a minute to go in the first half, Buljan scored again, giving the Gauchos a two-point lead going in to the second half.
In the third quarter, the Falcons scored on a Gaucho ejection, but in the next possession Santa Barbara swiftly executed another scoring power play with a goal from Shoemaker. A few minutes later another Gaucho 6-on-5 goal from attacker Mitchell Hamilton put Santa Barbara up by three.
Air Force returned with two goals, one in the final second of the quarter, to bring the score to 7-6 going in to the final quarter.
After a series of unsuccessful power plays on both sides, the Gauchos extended their lead 4:23 into the fourth quarter with a 6-on-5 goal from Jovanovic.
The Falcons managed to score with just five seconds left in the game, but the Gauchos remained on top, winning the game 8-7. Senior goalkeeper Chris Whitelegge recorded an impressive 17 saves in the game.
LONG BEACH STATE
The Gauchos wrapped up their first day of the Triton Invite with a narrow victory over Long Beach State, winning 7-6.
Long Beach racked up the first lead of the day with a goal 6:41 into the game. The Gauchos responded quickly with a goal from Hamilton.
Santa Barbara extended their lead 4:31 into the first with a 6-on-5 goal from Jovanovic. The 49ers brought the score back to even with a quick goal after a defensive scramble following a Gaucho ejection. They would go on to score once more, but in the next possession Santa Barbara followed suit and brought the score back to 3-3 with a goal from junior Shane Hauschild at the end of the first period.
The game continued to run point-for-point into the second quarter. Long Beach scored off a power play and the Gauchos scored less than a minute after with a goal from Jovanovic.
Long Beach scored off another power play to garner a one-point lead, which they would lose 1:19 into the second with a 6-on-5 goal from Hauschild to bring the score to 5-5 at the half.
Santa Barbara broke a scoreless, penalty-filled third quarter with a power play goal from Jovanovic to give them the lead going into the final quarter.
The Gauchos extended their lead with a goal from Gaughan early in the fourth quarter. Long Beach would go on to score off a Gaucho ejection, but heavy penalties throughout the remainder of the game would keep the Gauchos in the lead. The game ended with a Santa Barbara victory, 7-6. Goalkeeper Chris Whitelegge recorded 13 saves in the game.