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No. 3 Gauchos Fall to No. 2 LBSU in GCC Semis

Photo by Jeff Liang
Photo by Jeff Liang

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Facing No. 2 seed Long Beach State in a competitive GCC Semifinal matchup on Saturday, the No. 3 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team's season came to an end in a 15-9 defeat.

Goalscorers: McFarland (2), Hawkins (2), Nangle (2), Gyenis (2), Brosnan
Saves: Danny Roland (8)

Right off the first whistle, the Gauchos (14-13) got out to a great start. Mason Chambliss won the opening sprint on a jump ball and UCSB had a power play seconds later. Tommy Hawkins then fed Sam Nangle to put the Gauchos ahead less than 30 seconds in.

Santa Barbara forced the Beach (21-8) into a shot clock violation and Nangle made it two scoring possessions in a row to start the game. However, LBSU would score three straight to take its first lead and ended the first up 4-3.

Both teams picked it up on the defensive end in the second quarter, but the Beach got two big goals in the final 47 seconds to give the visitors a three-goal cushion up 7-4 going into the half. Ryan Brosnan scored a good goal to open the third, but the Beach pulled away with four unanswered as the physicality increased on both ends.

In a final frame filled with exclusions, UCSB had two great spurts in the fourth. Hawkins scored his second goal, got a steal, and dropped it off to Adam Gyenis for a second goal in the span of 14 seconds making it 11-7. Several minutes later, it was Gyenis and Hawkins again scoring two goals in 31 seconds to make it 12-9. The Beach would close things out by scoring the final three goals of the night.

Goalkeepers Danny Roland and Andrej Bosanac recorded eight saves apiece. Roland's career saves total reached 478, good for No. 8 all-time at UCSB.

All-GCC First Team selection Sam Nangle ends the year as UCSB's leading goalscorer with 39 goals. After scoring at least two goals in his last seven games, Hawkins is the team's leader in points, with 33 goals and 27 assists. With two more goals on Saturday, Dash McFarland finished second on the team with 36 for the year. Brosnan's goal saw him set a career-high with his 30th of the year.