Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 2:10 pm | Fair 73º

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Water Polo: No. 7 UCSB Stuns No. 2 Stanford, 5-4

A busy Bunn has 10 saves, including three in the fourth quarter, as the Gauchos run their home record to 6-0.

For the No. 7 UCSB men’s water polo team, there really is no place like home. On Sunday, the Gauchos knocked off No. 2 Stanford in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation contest at Campus Pool that ran their home record to 6-0 this season.

UCSB improves to 15-8 with the victory and to 4-2 in MPSF play. The loss marked Stanford’s first MPSF defeat of the year; the Cardinal are now 21-3 overall and 5-1 in conference.

The scoring opened in the first quarter when Stanford earned a five-meter penalty and Drac Wigo was able to score on the free shot. Less than a minute later, the Gauchos drew a Cardinal ejection and senior Miles Price capitalized on the six-on-five opportunity, scoring his first of two goals for the day. Each team earned a pair of ejections in the final three and a half minutes of the first quarter, but neither could capitalize on the advantage, leaving the game deadlocked at 1-1 after one period.

Junior Jesse Tootell gave the Gauchos their first lead of the game 38 seconds into the second quarter when he scored on another six-on-five advantage. During the next play, the Cardinal drew a five-meter penalty, but this time Gauchos goalkeeper Fraser Bunn came up with a huge stop.

Stanford responded less than a minute later with a power play goal from Sage Wright, tying the game at 2-2. With 3:58 on the clock in the first half, senior Travis Watts gave the Gauchos a slight 3-2 advantage when he scored on yet another six-on-five opportunity.

Leading 3-2 with 46 seconds to go in the first half, UCSB’s offense received a sizable blow when sophomore Milos Golic earned his third personal foul and was rolled from the game. Golic, who leads the Gauchos with 70 goals this season, had his 26-game scoring streak come to a halt.

UCSB, however, did not miss a beat as it opened the scoring in the second half with another six-on-five goal by Price. The point gave the Gauchos their biggest lead of the game at 4-2. Stanford would not be down for long though as Jacob Smith and Wright posted back-to-back goals to tie things up at 4-4.

With 4:40 on the clock in the fourth quarter, a shot by Watts hit the crossbar, but Sean Castillo was able to rebound the ball and dumped a lob shot over Cardinal goalie Jimmie Sandman’s head. The goal put the Gauchos in the lead, 5-4.

Stanford was able to earn two ejections late in the fourth quarter, including a Gauchos kick-out with seven seconds to play. Fortunately for UCSB, Stanford was unable to convert the man-up advantages and the Gauchos took the 5-4 victory. 

The win marks the Gauchos’ second straight over the Cardinal. After going winless against Stanford for 22 years, UCSB posted a 9-7 victory over the Cardinal last October, breaking the two-decade long drought.

Price led the Gauchos with two goals, but Bunn was the standout as he posted 10 total saves, including three in the fourth quarter. For Stanford, Wright led the squad with two goals and Sandman posted seven blocks.

The difference maker in the game was the six-on-five opportunities as UCSB went 4-for-9 in power plays and Stanford went 1-for-11. Stanford’s four goals marked the fewest allowed by the Gauchos this season.

UCSB will wrap up its regular season schedule at home Saturday when it hosts No. 3 UCLA on Saturday and No. 5 Pepperdine on Sunday. Both games start at noon. Admission is free.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB‘s assistant media relations director.

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