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No. 6 Gauchos Fall to No. 7 Pacific 11-9 in GCC Championship Semifinal

(Photo by John Shaffer/Golden Coast Conference)
(Photo by John Shaffer/Golden Coast Conference)

IRVINE, Calif. – The third-seeded and sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team fell to second-seeded and seventh-ranked Pacific 11-9 in the Gauchos' and Tigers' Golden Coast Conference Championship semifinal matchup on Saturday night at Anteater Aquatic Complex.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Pacific scored on both sides of Nathan Puentes' effort for the Gauchos to lead two goals to one at the end of the first quarter.
  • UCSB's Sam Nangle, Puentes, and Sawyer Rhodes went back-to-back-to-back to open the scoring in the second period to help take the lead for the first time in the contest.
  • Mihailo Vukacic closed the gap to one for the Tigers with three minutes to go until the halftime break, but Puentes fired in his third goal of the night just over half a minute into the third quarter to put UCSB up 5-3.
  • From then, Pacific went on a 6-1 run that extended to the 5:01 mark of the fourth quarter, at which point the Tigers held a 9-6 advantage.
  • Leo Yuno and Rhodes scored less than a minute apart to pull the Gauchos back within one, only for Jeremie Cote to find the back of the cage twice within the final two minutes and leave UCSB three goals down with 18 seconds to play.
  • Yuno scored the final goal of the game with 14 seconds left as the game finished 11-9 to Pacific.

NOTABLE

  • Puentes led UCSB with four goals, seven shots, and two assists. Rhodes and Yuno had two goals and an assist apiece, with the former leading the team in steals with two on the night.
  • Danny Roland made nine saves in the loss.

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