Gauchos Start Season Strong at Triton Invitational

Boris Jovanovic (Photo Ron Robertson)
Boris Jovanovic (Photo Ron Robertson)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team started the season strong with a pair of wins on Saturday, topping Concordia Irvine, 15-11, before defeating conference foe UC Irvine in a thrilling double overtime finish, 14-12, at the Triton Invitational hosted by UC San Diego.

Playing without All-American Reed Cotterill, who just wrapped up competing for Team Australia in the World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan, the Gauchos leaned on its other All-American Shane Hauschild and All-Conference selection from a year ago, Borislav Jovanovic, to soar past the Eagles.

Despite falling in a 4-1 hole to start the first game of the day, UCSB climbed its way back behind a pair of first quarter goals from Hauschild to get within one. Jovanovic added a pair of his own in the second period and the two teams were tied up at the break.

In the second half, UCSB pulled away with a big third quarter that featured five goals from five separate players. Jovanovic added his third score of the game while Josh Jordan, Jesse Morrison, Chad Nelson and Mason McQuit also scored for the Gauchos. After a 5-2 edge in the third and a 2-1 advantage in the fourth, UCSB came away with its 12th straight win in season openers. 

Hauschild and Jovanovic each tallied a hat-trick while Nelson notched a pair of goals and six other Gauchos scored a goal in the game. Justyn Barrios tallied 15 saves in the opener and finished with a team-high three assists.

In the final game of the afternoon, UCSB went down to the wire with UC Irvine and came away victorious after a pair of overtime goals from Jovanovic.

The Gauchos jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the half but were outscored 7-3 in the second half to force extra time. Hauschild tallied his second hat-trick of the game to give UCSB a 12-11 lead in the first overtime period and Jovanovic came up clutch with two scores in the second overtime period to eke out the win.

UCSB (2-0) will square off against Cal, the defending national champions, tomorrow, Sep. 3 at 1:15 p.m. to continue Triton Invitational play.