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Water Polo

UCSB Upended by Pepperdine in Golden Coast Tourney Semis

Former SBHS star Cristian Bridley scores 4 goals for Waves

Former Santa Barbara High star Cristian Bridley scored four goals, leading No. 9 Pepperdine to an 11-7 win over UCSB in the Golden Coast Conference men's water polo semifinals on Saturday night, ending the Gauchos' seven-game win streak.

Santa Barbara will now play No. 7 Long Beach State in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m Sunday after the 49ers fell to No. 5 Pacific 12-11 in the other semifinal.

Top-seeded UCSB had gone 3-0 against the Waves during the regular season, but its defense, which had kept six straight ranked opponents under 10 goals could not contain a Pepperdine side that scored at least twice in every period on Saturday.

Santa Barbara got off to a promising start to the game, taking a 2-0 lead out of the gates after a goal by Shane Hauschild was quickly followed with another by Mitch Hamilton at the 6:49 mark. Three different Pepperdine players would score over the next few minutes, giving the Waves a 3-2 advantage before another goal by Hauschild made it 3-3 heading into the second quarter.

UCSB's offense would go cold from there, not finding a goal until the final seconds of the third quarter. Pepperdine meanwhile stayed hot, with Sean Thomas picking up a goal and Mark Urban scoring twice in the second to take a 6-3 lead into the half.

The Waves would keep their foot on the gas pedal after the halftime break, extending to a 6-0 run after a pair of scores by Bridley and a goal by Kenneth Keller, making it 9-3 with 3:24 to go in the third. Martinho would then score his second of the night to make it 9-4 heading into the final stanza.

Needing a huge fourth quarter, UCSB did end up outscoring Pepperdine 3-2 over the final eight minutes, but it was too little too late. Bridley put away his fourth goal with 5:03 to go, giving the Waves a 10-4 lead, before Boris Jovanovic scored twice in less than a minute to make it 10-6. Pepperdine's Marko Asic put away the Waves' final goal with 2:18 remaining, and Spencer Likins scored one for the Gauchos in the final seconds, as they fell 11-7.

Pepperdine goalkeeper Zack Rhodes was outstanding on the night, recording game-highs of 17 saves and five steals. UCSB's Liam Lenihan, an All-GCC First-Team selection, finished with eight saves and a steal.

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