MALIBU, CALIF. – In the final Gold Coast Conference game for both participating teams, the No. 10 UCSB Men's Water Polo team edged No. 7 Pepperdine in a back and forth affair of two top-10 teams on Friday night at Raleigh Runnels Memorial Pool on Friday night. The Gauchos picked up their first win of conference play in a heated battle going into the Gold Coast Conference Tournament.
Senior Shane Hauschild opened the scoring for the Gauchos in the first quarter. Josh Jordan followed up with a goal of his own to tie the game at 2-2 midway through the first. It looked like Pepperdine would enter the second quarter with a 3-2 lead, but Boris Jovanovic found the back of the net in his return from injury with one second left in the quarter to even the score.
In the second quarter, both teams showed great defensive effort, but Jovanovic broke the tie with a powerful shot to put the Gauchos up 4-3 with a little under three minutes remaining before halftime. The half ended in a 4-4 tie, with neither side showing signs of letting up.
Coming out of the half, Pepperdine took an early 5-4 lead, but Hauschild found Brannan Haket for a goal to tie the game once again. The teams continued to battle defensively, as neither team could find an offensive rhythm. Pepperdine took a 6-5 lead entering the final period.
Both teams started heating up in the final period, as Reed Cotterill scored consecutive game tying goals for UCSB. Jacob Halle added one midway through the quarter, as the Gauchos led 8-7 with 5:41 remaining. After a Pepperdine goal, the teams remained tied for most of the remaining quarter, until Hauschild scored his second goal of the game with fifteen seconds left to put the Gauchos up one. The ensuing possession, the Gauchos gave a strong defensive effort, but the Waves tied the game with three seconds remaining. The heated matchup headed into overtime.
The intensity of the game did not relent, as the extra period proved to be as close as every quarter preceding it. Cotterill found his third score of the game to put the Gauchos up 10-9 with less than two minutes remaining. The Gauchos capitalized on the momentum with another goal from Josh Jordan, his second of the game. The Waves would score again, but the Gauchos held fast and prevented another tie, winning the contest 11-10 in what may have been the Gauchos biggest win of the season.
UCSB was led by its senior players, with Cotterill leading the team with three, and Hauschild and Jordan contributing two apiece. Jovanovic contributed two as well, while Haket and Halle scored one each. Freshman Connor Macdonald was integral to the winning effort with twelve saves and three steals.
In a week's time, both Pepperdine and UCSB will be competing in the Gold Coast Conference Tournament at Crawdford Pool at UC Irvine. The Gauchos improve to 10-11 on the season with the win.
UCSB Scorers: Cotterill 3, Jordan 2, Hauschild 2, Jovanovic 2, Halle 1, Haket 1
UCSB Saves: Macdonald 12
Pepperdine Scorers: Asic 3, Dilworth 3, Keller 2, Urban 1, Toth 1
Pepperdine Saves: Rhodes 10