No. 5 Gauchos Head North for Four Games at MPSF Invite

Leo Yuno (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Leo Yuno (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB (13-5, 1-0) vs. No. 15 Pomona-Pitzer (12-4, 6-0)
at Avery Aquatic Center in Stanford, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Sagehens: 14-0
Last meeting: W, 13-8 in Redlands, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2017)

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at 9:20 a.m.
No. 5 UCSB (13-5, 1-0) vs. TBD

Saturday, Oct. 12, 2018 at TBD (1:20 p.m. or 2:40 p.m.)
No. 5 UCSB (13-5, 1-0) vs. TBD

Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 at TBD
No. 5 UCSB (13-5, 1-0) vs. TBD
Video (1st, 3rd, 5th & 7th place games only)

MPSF Invite Central Page

GCC Play Opens with a Win
Facing No. 16 San Jose State in the first game of GCC play this season, No. 5 UC Santa Barbara claimed a 14-6 home win, led by yet another hat trick from senior Boris Jovanovic. Cole Brosnan, Jacob Halle and Ivan Gvozdanovic all ended their day with a brace, while junior goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano racked up nine saves in less than three quarters of play. The six goals were the fewest allowed by the Gauchos against a ranked team this season, as they notched their fifth win against such opponents this year.

Unstoppable Jovanovic Making Waves
It's been a year to remember for Boris Jovanovic, who through 18 games has put away more than half his career goal total entering the season. The senior has scored 53 times this year on just 117 shots, giving him a incredibly efficient .453 shooting percentage despite the high offensive volume. Averaging just under a hat trick per game, the Novi Sad, Serbia native has had 14 multi-goal efforts. He was named the GCC's Player of the Week three straight times to begin the year, becoming the first player in conference history to do so. Jovanovic has also tallied six assists, nine steals and a team-leading 12 drawn exclusions.

Four-Game Slate at MPSF Invitational
The Gauchos have a busy weekend ahead of them, as they head north to the MPSF Invitational for four games over three days. They will open things up with their lone game Friday against No. 15 Pomona-Pitzer, a team which has gone 12-4 overall this year and 6-0 in SCIAC play. The Sagehens have never defeated the Gauchos, who own a perfect 14-0 mark all-time against them. UCSB most recently defeated Pomona-Pitzer 13-8 last September in a game which saw Ivan Gvozdanovic put away four goals to lead the way.

On Saturday, Santa Barbara will play its first game of the day at 9:20 a.m. against either No. 4 Cal or Loyola Marymount. The Gauchos have faced both teams already this year, defeating LMU 10-6 at the Triton Invite to open the season, and falling to Cal 12-9 the following day. UCSB will play a second game on Saturday at either 1:20 p.m. or 2:40 p.m. and will close the weekend out with one more game on Sunday.

Strong Start
At 13-5 overall and 1-0 in the GCC, UCSB has the highest win percentage (.722) and four more wins than any other team in the conference. That already surpasses the team's win total from last year, when it went 11-12 overall. It's also the program's best start to a season since 2013, when it began the year 12-2.

Offensive Firepower
Santa Barbara is averaging 13.9 goals per game this year, led by Jovanovic's 53. Ten different Gauchos have reached double-figures in goals, and four have done so in assists. Ivan Gvozdanovic is second on the team with 43 points, tallying 28 goals on a .378 shooting percentage. He is tied with Jacob Halle for the team-lead in assists with 15. Cole Brosnan (21 goals), Leo Yuno (19) and Sam Nangle (16) round out UCSB's top-five goalscorers.

Defense, Defense, Defense
Goalkeeper Tiago Bonchristiano has been UCSB's defensive stalwart in the cage all season, leading the Gauchos to a 9-4 record as a starter. With a number of huge saves under his belt this season, the sophomore from Brazil has accumulated a team-leading 90 saves on a .517 save percentage.

Leading the Gauchos in the steal department are Ivan Gvozdanovic (26), Tommy Fellner (17), Chad Nelson (16) and Mason McQuet (13). McQuet also leads the way with six field blocks.

GCC Competition
The Gauchos – who were predicted to finish third in this year's GCC Preseason Poll – are a perfect 4-0 against conference foes so far this season, with three of the wins coming away from Santa Barbara's Campus Pool. Prior to their 14-6 win over No. 16 San Jose State last week, they defeated No. 10 Long Beach State 11-10 on Sept. 2, beat No. 6 Pacific 13-11 in overtime on Sept. 15, and topped No. 11 Pepperdine 16-14 on Sept. 20 in another overtime thriller.

National Rankings
After starting the year at No. 10 in the CWPA (Collegiate Water Polo Association) Varsity Polls, UCSB has moved up five spots to No. 5 for the past four weeks. This is the program's highest ranking in two years, since it earned as high as a No. 4 ranking during the 2016 season. That year, in what was Santa Barbara's first season as a member of the GCC, the Gauchos finished 18-8 overall and had a perfect 5-0 mark in conference play.

Crunch Time
Santa Barbara has gone a perfect 2-0 in overtime games this season, with both wins coming against GCC opponents. The Gauchos defeated Pacific 13-11 in a tightly contested battle on Sept. 15, as Ivan Gvozdanovic and Leo Yuno found paydirt during the extra periods. Just five days later, UCSB's Adam Lott would strike first in the opening period of overtime at Pepperdine, breaking a 13-13 tie that gave the Gauchos their first lead since the first quarter. They would go on to win 16-13 win, improving to a perfect 3-0 mark against GCC foes during non-conference play.