Logan Sutter scored with under 30 seconds to play in Saturday’s men’s water polo match, cutting UC Irvine’s lead over UC Santa Barbara to one as the Gauchos mounted a late comeback attempt, but it was just too late.
The visiting Anteaters won the low-scoring contest, 8-7.
“I mean, we lost by one goal and it’s two even teams, so it’s not a disaster, not a terrible result, but we definitely had higher hopes for this game, absolutely,” Gaucho head coach Wolf Wigo said. “It was very winnable, and it’s a shame we didn’t do it.”
The two teams traded goals in the first quarter, with one team scoring and their opponent providing an answer nearly immediately after. Ryan McManigal got things started, then Finn Genc tied the game back up at 2-2 after a pair of Anteater goals.
The game changed in the second quarter, when UC Irvine scored four times to UC Santa Barbara’s one, courtesy of Dash McFarland, with the visitors taking a 6-3 lead into halftime.
The Gauchos out-scored the Anteaters, 2-1, in both the third and fourth quarters, but UC Irvine’s lead was just big enough for the visitors to hold on.
UC Santa Barbara scored three of the game’s final four goals, with Henry Allen finding the back of the net near the end of the third quarter, and Adam Gyenis and Sutter each scoring in the fourth.
Sutter’s second goal of the day made it a one-goal game with 29 seconds to play. The Gauchos got the ball back and called timeout with one second remaining on the clock, but could not get a shot to tie off before the buzzer.
The Gauchos remain in Santa Barbara for their next match, hosting UC San Diego at Dos Pueblos High School on Sunday, Oct. 29 for Senior Day at noon.