No. 7 UCSB Faces Top Competition in Home Openers, Aggie Roundup

Ivan Gvozdanovic
Ivan Gvozdanovic

The Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
No. 7 UCSB (7-1) vs. No. 11 UC San Diego (5-1)
at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Tritons: 46-18
Last meeting: W, 11-9 at UCSB (Sept. 17, 2016)

Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
No. 7 UCSB (7-1) vs. No. 2 UCLA (8-0)
at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Bruins: 16-95-2
Last meeting: L, 10-5 at UCLA (Sept. 15, 2017)

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at 9:15 a.m.
No. 7 UCSB (7-1) vs. No. 1 USC (7-0)
at Schaal Aquatics Center in Davis, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Trojans: 20-89-2
Last meeting: L, 6-3 at UCSB (Oct. 8, 2017)

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m.
No. 7 UCSB (7-1) vs. No. 5 Pacific (4-1)
at Schaal Aquatics Center in Davis, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Tigers: 73-29
Last meeting: L, 14-7 at UCSB (Nov. 3, 2017)

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 at 7:15 p.m.
No. 7 UCSB (7-1) vs. Fresno Pacific (0-3)
at Schaal Aquatics Center in Davis, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Tigers: 2-0
Last meeting: W, 17-8 at FPU (Nov. 5, 2016)

Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 at 7:00 a.m.
No. 7 UCSB (7-1) vs. Chapman (1-5)
at Schaal Aquatics Center in Davis, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Panthers: 6-0
Last meeting: W, 14-5 at IE Classic (Sept. 8, 2018)

View the Aggie Roundup Tournament Page

Gauchos Dominate at Inland Empire Classic
No. 7 UC Santa Barbara continued a near-perfect start to the season at the Inland Empire Classic last weekend, posting a 4-0 record and outscoring its competition by a combined 85-19. Driver Boris Jovanovic was unstoppable throughout, going for four, five and six goals in the Gauchos' last three wins. The senior finished with 16 for the weekend, as UCSB defeated Chapman 14-5, Whittier 24-5, La Verne 29-4, and Concordia 18-5.

Jovanovic Leading the Charge
Jovanovic entered the season with a team-leading 100 goals in his career, a number which has increased significantly through the first eight games of the season. Averaging more than a hat trick per game, the Novi Sad, Serbia native has tallied the scoresheet a whopping 26 times. Prior to his 16-goal outburst at the Inland Empire Classic, he went for nine goals in four games to help lead UCSB to a second-place finish at the UC San Diego's Triton Invitational. He has six multi-goal efforts already this year, one of which saw him put away a crucial pair of third quarter goals in an 11-10 win over then-No. 6 Long Beach State on Sept. 2. Jovanovic also exploded for four goals against No. 3 Cal that same day, as the Gauchos sniffed an early-season upset before eventually falling, 12-9. He also leads UCSB in points (28), shots (50), and drawn exclusions (8).

Aggie Roundup Preview
UCSB has played a ranked opponent in one out of every four contests so far in 2018, but that is about to change. The Gauchos face a challenging slate this week with four of their six opponents currently owning a spot in the top-11 of the CWPA rankings.

On Thursday, Santa Barbara hosts No. 11 UC San Diego (12:00 p.m.) and No. 2 UCLA (7:00 p.m.). The Gauchos take a 1-1 record against ranked opponents into their home season-openers at Campus Pool. The Tritons are out to a 5-1 start, with their only loss coming in double overtime, 11-10, to UC Irvine. The Bruins have maintained an unscathed 7-0 mark thus far.

UCSB opens the Aggie Roundup against the No. 1 team in the country in USC (8-0) at 9:15 a.m. in the first of three games on Saturday. Later that day, the Gauchos will face a No. 5 Pacific (3:30 p.m.) team that was predicted to finish in first place in the GCC Preseason Poll before a late evening matchup with Fresno Pacific (7:15 p.m.). Santa Barbara wraps up the weekend on Sunday at 7:00 a.m. against a Chapman side that it just defeated handily, 14-5, this past weekend.

Offensive Firepower
The Gauchos knew they would have big shoes to fill after saying goodbye to ACWPC All-Americans Reed Cotterill and Shane Hauschild, and they haven't disappointed. While Jovanovic has taken the reigns as the team's go-to scorer eight games into the season, four other Gauchos have hit double-figures in the goals department.

Two-time All-GCC selection junior Ivan Gvozdanovic sits second on the team in goals (12), assists (10), points (22) and shots (28). He is also tied with teammate Chad Nelson for the team-lead in steals (15). Sophomore attacker Leo Yuno has been stellar as well, currently standing as the third and final Gaucho over the 20-point mark with 11 goals and 10 assists. Redshirt sophomore Will Rodosky (11 assists) is pacing the team in helpers, while sophomore Cole Brosnan and freshman Sam Nangle have 10 goals apiece.

Defensive Playmakers
Goalkeepers Tiago Bonchristiano, Connor Macdonald and Ben Miller have all seen time defending the cage in the early parts of the season, but it's Bonchristiano who leads the team in both minutes and saves (34). The sophomore from Brazil has saved 54.8 percent of shots this season, coming away victorious in seven of his eight starts. He performed exceptionally well in the clutch in the win over No. 6 Long Beach State, racking up 14 saves to help seal a tight 11-10 victory.

Gvozdanovic and Nelson are tied for the team-lead in steals (15), while junior driver Tommy Fellner is the only other Gaucho in double-figures with 11. Nangle and sophomore defender Mason McQuet both share a team-high in field blocks (4).

National Rankings
After starting the year with a No. 10 national ranking, UCSB's strong showing at the Triton Invitational moved the Gauchos up three spots in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) polls, the biggest jump of any team following opening weekend. UCSB leapfrogged over fellow GCC programs No. 12 UC Irvine and No. 10 Pepperdine and still remains at No. 7 one week later. The Gauchos own the third-highest ranking in the GCC, behind only No. 6 LBSU – who they've already defeated this season – and upcoming opponent No. 5 Pacific. The Gauchos were ranked No. 10 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) National Preseason Poll, the fifth-highest ranking among GCC schools.