No. 5 UCSB Heads Back North to Face Pacific, Cal

Spencer Wood (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Spencer Wood (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB (16-6, 1-0) at No. 7 Pacific (8-7, 1-0)
at Chris Kjeldsen Pool Complex in Stockton, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Tigers: 74-29
Last meeting: W, 13-11 in Davis, Calif. (Sept. 15, 2018)
Live Stats

Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.
No. 5 UCSB (16-6, 1-0) at No. 4 Cal (14-3, 0-0)
at Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Golden Bears: 8-70
Last meeting: L, 19-8 in Stanford, Calif. (Oct. 13, 2018)

Gauchos Claim Fifth-Place at MPSF Invite
The No. 5 UC Santa Barbara team backed up its national ranking at the MPSF Invite last weekend, taking fifth-place overall with a 3-1 mark which saw the Gauchos defeat three ranked opponents. Santa Barbara enjoyed wins of 12-7 against No. 16 Pomona-Pitzer, 11-9 versus No. 8 Long Beach State, and 10-6 over No. 6 Pepperdine in the fifth-place game. Boris Jovanovic and Ivan Gvozdanovic paced the Gauchos with 10 goals each over four games.

More Rematches Ahead as GCC Play Resumes
This Saturday at 1:00 p.m., the Gauchos will head to Stockton, Calif. to face off against No. 7 Pacific (8-7, 1-0), a team they defeated 13-11 in overtime in their lone meeting this year back on Sept. 15. Hat tricks by Jovanovic, Cole Brosnan and Ivan Gvozdanovic highlighted UCSB's win, as the Gauchos improved to 74-29 all-time against the Tigers. Both teams enter their second official GCC game of 2018 with a 1-0 conference record.

The following day at noon, Santa Barbara will travel to Berkeley, Calif. to take on a No. 4 Cal side that has beaten UCSB twice this season. The Golden Bears (14-3, 0-0) downed the Gauchos 12-9 during the season's opening weekend at the Triton Invite, and most recently earned a 19-8 victory last weekend to hand UCSB its only loss at the MPSF Invite.

Jovanovic Making Waves
It's been a year to remember for Boris Jovanovic, who through 22 games has put away a GCC-leading 63 goals on 150 shots (.420). Averaging just under a hat trick per outing(2.86 G/gm), the Novi Sad, Serbia native has had 16 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 eight assists, 13 steals and team-leading marks of 71 points and 17 drawn exclusions.

Year to Remember
At 16-6 overall and 1-0 in the GCC, UCSB has the highest win percentage (.727) and at least five more wins than any other team in the conference. This marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Gauchos have had at least 16 wins. They are currently on pace to hit 20 wins for just the second time in the last 28 seasons. If the season were to end today, UCSB's .727 winning percentage would be its highest since 1981.

Offensive Firepower
Santa Barbara is averaging 13.9 goals per game this year, led by Jovanovic's 63. 12 different Gauchos have reached double-figures in goals, and four have done so in assists. Ivan Gvozdanovic is second on the team with 55 points, tallying 28 goals on a .378 shooting percentage. His 17 assists are tied for the fourth-most in the conference. Leo Yuno (25 goals), Cole Brosnan (24), 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 12-5 record as a starter. With a number of huge saves under his belt this season, the sophomore from Brazil has accumulated 111 saves – good for third among GCC goalkeepers – on a .552 save percentage.

In the steals department, Gvozdanovic has a team and conference-leading 30, followed by Tommy Fellner (20), Chad Nelson (16) and Mason McQuet (14). McQuet also leads the way with seven field blocks.

GCC Competition
The Gauchos – who were predicted to finish third in this year's GCC Preseason Poll – are a perfect 6-0 against conference foes so far this season, with five of the wins coming away from Santa Barbara's Campus Pool. Prior to their wins over the 49ers and Waves last weekend, they beat No. 19 San Jose State 14-6 on Oct. 5, No. 8 Long Beach State 11-10 on Sept. 2, No. 7 Pacific 13-11 in overtime on Sept. 15, and No. 6 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.