Gauchos Battle No. 3 Stanford Throughout, But Fall 9-7

Tiago Bonchristiano (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Tiago Bonchristiano (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Hosting No. 3 Stanford on Saturday looking for its fifth straight win, the No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team held the lead into the third quarter before falling just short, 9-7. Senior driver and three-time defending GCC Player of the Week Boris Jovanovic ended his day with two goals on nine shot attempts, while junior Ivan Gvozdanovic also added a brace.

After Jovanovic opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game, Stanford would go on to tie things up on four occasions. The Gauchos didn't trail until the second half, when a Cardinal goal with 3:23 to go in the third put the visitors up 6-5.

Stanford capped a 4-0 run with 20 seconds left in the period to take their largest lead of the day, 8-5. However, Jovanovic would sneak one in with just three ticks left to send UCSB into the final frame trailing 8-6.

Santa Barbara would win the opening sprint of the fourth, leading to Gvozdanovic's second goal of the day on the Gauchos' first possession of the quarter. UCSB would have several good chances to equalize, including earning a penalty with 3:41 to go in the game. However, Stanford goalkeeper Oliver Lewis would save his second penalty of the day, and the Cardinal would gain more separation with the final goal of the day at the 3:11 mark.

Things might not have been so close if not for the play of sophomore goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano, who finished with seven saves over three periods, including several outstanding stops. Mason McQuet also had two steals to lead the way.

Also finding the scoresheet for the Gauchos were Tommy Fellner, Jacob Halle and Adam Lott. Jovanovic also finished with a team-high two assists, while four other Gauchos tallied one helper.

UCSB will return to action next Sunday in a road rematch against No. 1 USC at 1:00 p.m.