In a tight vote, UCSB has been picked to finish first in the Golden Coast Conference men’s water polo coaches’ poll.

The Gauchos received 20 points, edging out Long Beach State and Pepperdine who each collected 19 points and Pacific had 18. In first-place votes, UCSB and Long Beach State each picked up two while Pepperdine and Pacific got one apiece.

The rankings isn’t reflective of the national rankings. Long Beach State and Pacific were tied for fifth in the Collegiate Water Polo Association National Coaches’ Poll while UCSB was tied for seventh.

The Gauchos return all-Golden Coast first-team player Ivan Gvozdanovic. He was the second-leading goal scorer on the team with 48 goals and led the team in assists (25) and steals (37).

Coach Wolf Wigo’s Gauchos opens their season at the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego on Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8. The Gauchos will face Concordia in their opening match of the tournament.

2019 Gold Coast Conference Men’s Water Polo Preseason Coaches’ Poll

1. UC Santa Barbara – 20 (2)

2. Long Beach St. – 19 (2)

2. Pepperdine – 19 (1)

4. Pacific – 18 (1)

5. UC Irvine – 8

6. San Jose St. – 6

( ) Denotes first place votes

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.