STANFORD, Calif. – On Sunday, for the sixth time this year, the No. 5 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team was matched up against a team from the Golden Coast Conference. And, for the sixth time this year, the Gauchos came away victorious, downing No. 8 Pepperdine by a final score of 10-6 to take a fifth-place finish at the MPSF Invite.
With their fourth win in five games, the Gauchos (16-6, 1-0) improved to 2-0 against Pepperdine (11-8, 1-0) in 2018, the same team they will close out both GCC play and the regular season against at home on Nov. 10.
As has become customary in his senior year, driver Boris Jovanovic led Santa Barbara in scoring, putting away four goals, three of which came on power plays. He ends his weekend with two four-goal efforts and as the only Gaucho to score in all four games at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center.
Matching Jovanovic with ten goals this weekend was Ivan Gvozdanovic, who filled up the stat sheet with two goals and three drawn exclusions. Sophomore Leo Yuno also came up big with the Gauchos, recording a hat trick on five shot attempts.
Jovanovic put away two of his goals in the first quarter, and secured his third on the Gauchos' opening possession of the second half to put his side up 5-3. However, three straight goals from the Waves would give them a 6-5 advantage with , their first since the opening period.
Pepperdine would hold the lead for just 25 seconds though, as Gvozdanovic found an equalizer before the third quarter buzzer, the first of five unanswered goals to end the game for the Gauchos. UCSB would shut out the Waves in the fourth, as two goals from Yuno and one each from Gvozdanovic and freshman Tommy Hawkins capped off the 10-6 victory.
The win marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Gauchos have had at least 16 wins. With four of their final five regular season games coming against GCC opponents, 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.
The Gauchos resume GCC action next Saturday, Oct. 20 in a 1:00 p.m. game at No. 6 Pacific. The following day, they will take on No. 4 Cal for the third and final time this year in a noon road matchup.