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No. 8 Gauchos Win Season-Opener, Fall Just Short Against No. 3 UCLA

Will Coons (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Will Coons (Photo by Jeff Liang)

LA JOLLA, Calif. – On Saturday, the No. 8 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team began its 2022 campaign at the Triton Invitational hosted by UC San Diego, splitting its season-opening games with an 18-8 win over Claremont Mudd Scripps and nearly coming back to upset No. 3 UCLA in a 7-6 defeat.

Redshirt freshman attacker Marko Maramica led the Gauchos (1-1) with five goals on the day. He scored twice in the second quarter against the Bruins (2-0) to start a spirited comeback as the Gauchos erased a 4-0 deficit and remained tied into the final two minutes of the match.

Senior center Sam Nangle started the season strong with four goals in the win over Claremont Mudd Scripps, while Maramica and redshirt freshman attacker Brock Zamanian both recorded hat tricks.

HOW IT HAPPENED

UCSB 18, Claremont Mudd Scripps 8
Goalscorers: Nangle (4), Zamanian (3), Chambliss (2), Brosnan, Hawkins, Hoover, Gyenis, Oriskovich, Coons, McKenzie, Ohannessian, Redoutey

Santa Barbara was ready to go in its season-opener against the Stags (0-2). Sam McKenzie, Will Coons and James Oriskovich put UCSB up 3-0 a little more than two minutes into the contest.

The Stags fought back with three first quarter goals, but UCSB ended the opening period leading 6-3. Seven different Gauchos scored in the second period as they pulled away to head into halftime up 13-5.

UCSB's lead would grow to as large as 11 goals on Shane Hoover's final goal with 2:28 to go in the fourth.

Senior goalkeeper Danny Roland played the whole match, tallying five saves over the first three frames.

UCLA 7, UCSB 6
Goalscorers: Oriskovich (2), McFarland, Brosnan, Hawkins, Redoutey

Game two provided a much greater challenge for the Gauchos, going up against a Bruin side that nearly earned a No. 2 national ranking in the Collegiate Water Polo Association preseason rankings.

That proved to be the case right out of the gates, as UCLA jumped out to a 4-0 lead five minutes into the second period. However, it was Oriskovich opening the scoring for the Gauchos, as he put away two goals before halftime to make it a 4-2 game.

Senior attacker Tommy Hawkins struck first early in the third, notching his second score of the day to bring UCSB within a goal, 4-3. The Gaucho defense continued to keep them in it, and at the 3:54 mark of the third, sophoore center Dash McFarland found the equalizer to tie it at 4-4.

The Bruins fired back to take a 6-4 advantage heading into the final frame. The resilient Gauchos came right back, as freshman Luke Redoutey scored for the second time in the day at the 7:02 mark to make it a one goal game.

With just under two minutes to go, Brosnan scored a timely goal to bring the teams level at 6-6. However, UCLA would score its only goal of the fourth quarter on the following possession, and UCSB was unable to find a third equalizer.

Roland was remarkable in goal, racking up 13 saves.

NEXT UP
The Gauchos will be back in action tomorrow for two more games, opening the day at 8:15 a.m. against No. 5-T Long Beach State. Their second game will be against either No. 12 UC Irvine or No. 13-T UC San Diego.