SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In their final home match of the season, the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team honored five seniors and took home a crucial win in one of the tightest games of the season. Derek Shoemaker's goal in the final second of the game put them on top over UC Irvine to improve their record to 14-8.
Senior goalkeeper Chris Whitelegge also added eleven saves, adding to a career total of 828, and making him UCSB's all-time saves leader. He is currently the sixth player in MPSF history to reach this milestone. Whitelegge also tallied five steals for the day.
The other seniors that were honored today were Nick Jordan, Bryan Snyder, and Liam Gaughan. Jordan contributed three earned ejections, three field blocks, and a steal. Gaughan added one goal, two earned ejections, and two assists.
Shane Hauschild put up two goals for the day, one occurring in the first Gaucho possession of the day. Several failed power play attempts from both sides would leave the score at 1-0 at the end of the first quarter. Two goals from the Anteaters in the second quarter and several missed scoring opportunities would give UCI the lead at the half, 2-1.
Another goal from Irvine at the start of the third would give them a two-point lead over the Gauchos. Hauschild responded just 20 seconds later with his second goal of the day, followed by two additional goals from Irvine. Spencer Likens would go on to score a Gaucho goal in the last 30 seconds of the quarter to narrow the score gap, 5-3, Irvine.
Gaughan further narrowed the gap with a goal in the fourth quarter. After a call reversal on another Hauschild goal, Mitch Hamilton contributed a goal halfway through the quarter to tie the game up, 5-5. After several timeout plays and no change in score, the Gauchos were left with 19 seconds, a tied game, and an opportunity to take home the win.
Coach Wolf Wigo called a timeout, the team set up in position, and in the final second of the game Shoemaker scored the game-winning goal in his final match at Campus Pool as a Gaucho.
Irvine disputed the call again, but this time the goal would stick and the Gauchos would win, 6-5.
Santa Barbara will face the undefeated team of UCLA in Los Angeles next Friday, Nov. 6, and the men of UC San Diego in San Diego on Saturday, Nov. 7.