Nathan. Puentes
Nathan Puentes of UCSB scored a goal in the exhibiiton win over the Shanghai Water Polo Club on Monday and scored in Sunday’s upset over No. 4-ranked Cal at the Triton Invitational on Sunday. (Tony Mastres photo)

Fresh off their first-ever Triton Invitational first place finish over the weekend, the UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo team defeated Shanghai Water Polo Team, a fully professional water polo squad based in China, 14-9, in an exhibition at Campus Pool on Monday afternoon.

“It was a great performance against a strong team,” UCSB coach Wolf Wigo said.”It’s good to get experience against an international side that does things a bit differently than college teams. I thought that was good for our team and we reacted well. Since we were playing a foreign team, it added a bit of excitement to it and the guys were ready to go.”

Eleven different players scored goals for the Gauchos in the exhibition, continuing the theme from the games at the Triton Invitational.

The Gauchos are off to their first 4-0 start since 2013.

“In the past when we’ve had successful seasons, we’ve had a lot of players contributing. It makes it really hard to focus on one, two, or three players,” Wigo explained. “When teams are scouting us, it’s hard to come up with a game plan. Really, the best thing about our team this year is that we’re strong and three-deep at every position, and that’s extremely rare.”

The Gauchos will play at the Inland Empire Classic in Redlands on Saturday and Sunday.