Gauchos Take Two in Aggie Roundup Opener

Cole Brosnan
Cole Brosnan

DAVIS, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's water polo team (10-3) played in a trio of games on Saturday at the Schaal Aquatics Center in the 2018 Aggie Roundup, dropping their first match to No. 1 USC before defeating No. 5 Pacific and Fresno Pacific.

Senior driver Boris Jovanovic led the Gauchos with nine goals on the day.

UCSB vs USC

The Gauchos found themselves down in a 2-0 hole early, but a pair of Jovanovic goals in the span of three minutes levelled the scoreline with 2:35 to go in the first quarter. With just over a minute to go, the Trojans went ahead on a goal from driver Zach D'sa and didn't look back, outscoring UCSB 7-1 in the rest of the game to win the match 10-3.

Sophomore goalkeeper Connor Macdonald had eight saves, including five in the first quarter. Freshman goalkeeper Ben Miller added three saves in the second half.

Jovanovic scored the Gauchos' third goal with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter.

UCSB vs Pacific

The Gauchos rallied back from a 6-5 halftime deficit to upset No. 5 Pacific in an overtime thriller, led by three-goal performances from Jovanovic, sophomore attacker Cole Brosnan, and junior utility Ivan Gvozdanovic.

It took just 30 seconds for Pacific attacker Engin Ege Colak to open the scoring on a penalty. The Gauchos twice tied the game in the first quarter through Jovanovic and Brosnan, but Pacific ultimately pulled away 4-2 in the opening frame.

UCSB scored the first two goals of the second quarter with junior attacker Jacob Halle's goal at the 6:13 mark and Gvozdanovic's shot with 4:26 remaining. Pacific scored another pair of goals shortly afterwards to go up 6-4, but Brosnan's goal with 1:38 to go meant the Gauchos were down by a lone goal entering halftime.

The Gauchos again scored the opening goal of the third quarter, with Gvozdanovic tying the game up less than two minutes into the second half. Both teams jockeyed for position throughout the quarter, but UCSB managed to score two goals in the last 34 seconds, including sophomore attacker Spencer Wood's strike with just one second on the clock, to enter the final quarter of the match tied at 9.

Jovanovic scored within the first minute of the fourth quarter and Brosnan tallied his third goal of the match four minutes later to put the Gauchos up 11-9, but a late comeback from Pacific meant UCSB would be headed to overtime for the first time this season.

Gvozdanovic picked up the go-ahead goal with 1:49 left in the first overtime period and sophomore attacker Leo Yuno added another with 1:29 left in the second period to secure the victory for the Gauchos, their first over the Tigers since November 2016.

UCSB vs Fresno Pacific

The Gauchos finished out the day with a 17-10 win over Fresno Pacific, thanks once again to a trio of goals from Jovanovic and the freshman duo of driver Nathan Puentes and attacker Tommy Hawkins.

Fresno Pacific's utility Richard Szepesi scored in the first minute to go up 1-0, but afterwards it was all Gauchos as they scored the following five points to end the first quarter with a 5-1 lead. Sophomore attacker Jesse Morrison and redshirt freshman center Adam Lott each had a pair of goals for UCSB.

Similar success followed in the second quarter, with UCSB scoring another five goals to lead 10-4 at the break.

The Gauchos loosened their grip in the second quarter, but still maintained their lead, outscoring the opposition 7-6 to finish off the day with a win.

UCSB was perfect on sprints in the match, with redshirt sophomore Will Rodosky winning both sprints in the first half, Puentes earning a win in the third quarter, and sophomore attacker Chad Nelson ensuring perfection in the fourth quarter.

Next up

UCSB takes on Chapman tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. in their final match of the Aggie Roundup. This will be the second match between both sides this season, with the Gauchos having previously defeated the Panthers 14-5 last week at the Inland Empire Classic.