The No. 11 UC Santa Barbara Men’s Water Polo team (7-6) was in action in Santa Barbara for the first time this season on Sunday, taking on No. 6 Stanford (6-2) from Santa Barbara High School. Six different Gauchos scored as they went blow-for-blow with the Cardinal through three quarters, but the visitors pulled away late and went on to win, 13-10.
FROM HEAD COACH WOLF WIGO
“I thought we played three really good quarters, a big improvement from the last couple games,” Wigo said. “We had ourselves in a position to win the game, we had the game tied at a timeout and unfortunately, we made a play that resulted in a counter for the other team, that was really what cost us, what keyed the shift. Stanford is a great team, I was impressed that we were able to compete in the fourth quarter, and we’re going to keep improving through the year. Today’s game, while we didn’t win, it was a step forward.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
The first three goals of the game came in a flurry, two from Stanford then an answer from UC Santa Barbara’s Shane Hoover all within 45 seconds of each other, around the six-minute mark in the first quarter. Stanford scored next, then again before the buzzer to lead 4-1 after one quarter, but the second frame belonged to the Gauchos.
The teams traded two goals each, with Mason Chambliss and Hoover finding the net for UC Santa Barbara, then the Gauchos dented the twine twice in the final minute to cut the Cardinal lead to one by halftime. Colton Gregory converted a power-play opportunity with 37 seconds left, then Adam Gyenis fired home just five seconds before the buzzer.
UC Santa Barbara carried that momentum out of halftime, with Logan Sutter tying the game less than a minute into the third quarter. The teams again traded two goals each, with Gregory keeping it level at 7-7, then Luke Bachler leveling it back up at 8-8 with just under three minutes left in the quarter.
Stanford got another goal to retake the lead before the end of the third, and then they scored four straight to open the fourth, building a 13-8 lead with under four minutes to play. Finn Genc scored twice before the buzzer, but it was too little, too late for the Gauchos.
The Gauchos hit the road again next weekend, heading to Los Angeles for a pair of games on Saturday, September 23, taking on San Jose State and Loyola Marymount at LMU. The games are currently set to start at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively.