Gauchos Begin Home Stretch of GCC Play Hosting No. 8 LBSU on Friday

Gauchos Begin Home Stretch of GCC Play Hosting No. 8 LBSU on Friday

The Schedule
Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.
No. 6 UCSB (16-8, 1-1) vs. No. 8 Long Beach State (7-10, 0-1)
t Campus Pool in Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the 49ers: 61-63
Last meeting: W, 11-9 in Stanford, Calif. (Oct. 13, 2018)
Live Stats 

UCSB Falls in Pair of One-Goal Thrillers
The Gauchos resumed GCC play with their second conference game last Saturday, falling to No. 5 Pacific after a wild fourth quarter, 12-11. Boris Jovanovic and Cole Brosnan both recorded hat tricks in the loss. The following day, UCSB closed out its non-conference slate at No. 4 Cal. The Gauchos came the closest they've been all year to defeating the Golden Bears, once again coming up a goal short in a 13-12 defeat. Novi Sad, Serbia natives Jovanovic and Ivan Gvozdanovic put away a combined eight goals, with the former leading his team with five on the day.

Gauchos Claim Fifth-Place at MPSF Invite
One week prior at the MPSF Invite, then-No. 5 UC Santa Barbara backed up its national ranking by taking fifth-place overall with a 3-1 mark which saw the Gauchos defeat three ranked opponents. Santa Barbara enjoyed wins of 12-7 against Pomona-Pitzer, 11-9 versus Long Beach State, and 10-6 over Pepperdine in the fifth-place game. Boris Jovanovic and Ivan Gvozdanovic paced the Gauchos with 10 goals each over four games.

On Friday at 3:00 p.m., No. 6 UCSB hosts No. 8 Long Beach State in the third match-up between the two teams this season. The Gauchos have had the 49ers number to this point, beating them 11-10 during the opening weekend of the season and 11-9 on Oct. 13. Ivan Gvozdanovic has averaged a hat trick in the wins over LBSU this year, including scoring five goals the second time both sides met. The Beach owns a 63-61 edge in the all-time series.

Jovanovic Making Waves
It's been a year to remember for Boris Jovanovic, who through 24 games has put away a GCC-leading 71 goals on 167 shots (.425). Averaging just under a hat trick per outing (2.96 G/gm), the senior has had 18 multi-goal efforts. He was named the GCC's Player of the Week three straight times to begin the year, becoming the first player in conference history to do so. Jovanovic has also tallied eight assists, 13 steals and team-leading marks of 79 points and 20 drawn exclusions.

Year to Remember
At 16-8 overall and 1-1 in the GCC, UCSB has the highest win percentage (.667) and at least four more wins than any other team in the conference. This marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Gauchos have had at least 16 wins.

Offensive Firepower
Santa Barbara is averaging 13.1 goals per game this year, led by Jovanovic's 71. 12 different Gauchos have reached double-figures in goals, and four have done so in assists. Ivan Gvozdanovic is second on the team with 63 points, tallying 42 goals on a .378 shooting percentage. His 21 assists rank in the top-five of the conference. Cole Brosnan (28), Leo Yuno (25) and Sam Nangle (16) round out UCSB's top-five goalscorers.

Defense, Defense, Defense
Goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano has been UCSB's defensive stalwart in the cage all season, leading the Gauchos to a 12-7 record as a starter. The Brazilian native has accumulated 130 saves – good for a top-three site among GCC goalkeepers – on a .560 save percentage.

In the steals department, Gvozdanovic has a team-leading 32, followed by Tommy Fellner (21), Chad Nelson (16) and Mason McQuet (15). McQuet also leads the way with seven field blocks.

GCC Competition
The Gauchos – who were predicted to finish third in this year's GCC Preseason Poll – are a near-perfect 6-1 against conference foes so far this season, with five of the wins coming away from Santa Barbara's Campus Pool. Their 12-11 loss to Pacific last week ended a run of seven straight wins against GCC foes going back to last season.

National Rankings
After starting the year at No. 10 in the CWPA (Collegiate Water Polo Association) Varsity Polls, UCSB moved up five spots to No. 5 for a several weeks, before dropping to No. 6 this week. It was the program's highest ranking in two years, since it earned as high as a No. 4 ranking during the 2016 season. That year, in what was Santa Barbara's first season as a member of the GCC, the Gauchos finished 18-8 overall and had a perfect 5-0 mark in conference play.

Crunch Time
Santa Barbara has gone a perfect 2-0 in overtime games this season, with both wins coming against GCC opponents. The Gauchos defeated Pacific 13-11 in a tightly contested battle on Sept. 15, as Ivan Gvozdanovic and Leo Yuno found paydirt during the extra periods. Just five days later, UCSB's Adam Lott would strike first in the opening period of overtime at Pepperdine, breaking a 13-13 tie that gave the Gauchos their first lead since the first quarter. They would go on to win 16-13 win, improving to a perfect 3-0 mark against GCC foes during non-conference play.