LA VERNE, Calif. - Just as they did last weekend, the No. 7 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team went 2-0 on the first day of tournament action defeating unranked DIII opponents Chapman University 14-5 and Whittier University 24-5.
After going 3-1 in last weekend's Triton Invitational, the Gauchos (5-1) seemed to gain a lot of momentum jumping up three spots in the CWPA polls. On top of that senior driver Boris Jovanovic was named the Golden Coast Conference Player of the Week.
With confidence like that coming into this weekend, UCSB did not waste a single moment of it outscoring its two opponents on the day by a combined score of 38-10. The best part was that the Gauchos had an abundance of scorers throughout the day as eight players had multiple-goal efforts. Jovanovic had five on the day.
UCSB vs. Chapman University
Sophomore attacker Leo Yuno led the way for the Gauchos in the first game of the tournament as he scored a game-high four goals against the Panthers. This season, UCSB has routinely started games fast, but it was Chapman who got on the board first for a 1-0 lead with 6:30 remaining in the first quarter.
Jovanovic would nail a goal just a minute later to tie it up. After that much of the first frame was filled with scrappy play as the teams stayed deadlocked at one until Yuno scored with just under three minutes left. After one quarter UCSB would be up just 2-1.
At the beginning of the second, again neither team could find the back of the net. With 4:45 remaining in the half, the Gauchos would finally seem to find some offense outscoring their opponents 3-0 to take a 5-1 lead into the break.
The third quarter finally saw both teams scoring some goals. UCSB's Quinn Stoneman kicked off the half scoring a goal to extend its lead to five but Chapman would answer back moments later to cut the lead back down. After another Santa Barbara score at the 6:22 mark, Chapman would again score to keep it close. The Panthers did not stop there as a goal at the 5:15 mark would cut the lead to just three at 7-4.
A three-goal difference would be the closest Chapman would get to its opponents for the rest of the day as there onward, the Gauchos outscored their opponents 7-1 in the final 13 minutes of the match. Besides Yuno's four goals, only one other UCSB athlete would score multiple goals as eight Gauchos each got one past the opposition's goalkeeper.
For the game, Santa Barbara outshot its opponents 29-18 finishing with a very nice .483 clip.
UCSB vs. Whittier University
In the second match of the day, Santa Barbara managed to put the opposing team away much quicker just as the final score would indicate. UCSB jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after the end of the first quarter and would explode in the second with an eight-goal frame.
After scoring a goal in the first quarter, Jovanovic would tally two more goals in the second leading all scorers at the break with three. At that point in the match, no other Gaucho had more than one score as eight different players tallied a goal. UCSB held an 11-3 advantage after one half of play.
The second half was much of the same if not better as Santa Barbara outscored Whittier 5-2 in the third quarter and 8-1 in the final frame. Jovanovic would lead all scorers with four while both attackers Chad Nelson and Sam Nangle would each tally a hat trick in the contest.
As a team, UCSB was phenomenal shooting 24-37 while also converting 5-12 power plays. In its first contest, Santa Barbara was 0-6 on power plays.
The Gauchos will take on La Verne and Concordia tomorrow at 9 a.m. and 1:20 p.m., respectively, to conclude the Inland Empire Classic.