Dash McFarland etched his name into the UC Santa Barbara Men’s Water Polo record books on Friday, recording his 15th three-goal game of the season against No. 1 UCLA and bringing his 2023 total to 75, the tenth-most goals in a single season in Gauchos history.
McFarland’s hat trick accounted for a third of Santa Barbara’s goals against the Bruins, but it was not enough, as UCLA emerged victorious, 15-9.
“We had some periods in the game that were very positive, however ultimately we were not consistent enough on defense to deserve the win,” Gaucho head coach Wolf Wigo said. “We are looking forward to the conference game tomorrow with UC Irvine.”
The unbeaten Bruins jumped out to an early lead, scoring on their first possession, and continued to prove why they are the nation’s top-ranked team. Ryan McManigal found the net for the Gauchos, but the hosts led, 4-1, after the first quarter.
The Bruins scored four more in the second, but McFarland answered with two of his own for Santa Barbara. With less than a minute before halftime, Logan Sutter scored to make it 8-4, UCLA.
Finn Genc was the first to score after halftime, making it 8-5, Bruins, and ushering in one of UC Santa Barbara’s stronger stretches of the game.
The Gauchos held UCLA scoreless for the first four minutes in the second half, and when the Bruins finally scored, McFarland answered back 12 seconds later, completing his hat-trick.
UCLA scored again, and again the Gauchos answered, with Adam Gyenis converting a five-meter penalty shot.
The hosts ended up pulling away with two late goals in the third quarter and another to start the fourth. Genc scored again for the Gauchos with 3:45 left in the game, but by that time it was largely out of reach. Brock Zamanian got on the scoresheet late as well.
The Gauchos return to Santa Barbara for their next match, hosting UC Irvine at Dos Pueblos High School on Saturday, Oct. 21.