The No. 7 UC Santa Barbara men’s water polo team put forth a strong effort in its home season-openers, losing a tight match against No. 2-ranked UCLA after beating No, 11 UC San Diego, 16-13.
The Gauchos hung tight against the Bruins, even taking a 3-2 lead on an Ivan Gvozdanovic goal just before the halftime break.
However, the Bruins would come out strong in the third quarter, winning it by a score of 6-1 to take a commanding 8-4 advantage into the fourth quarter. UCLA went on to claim a 10-7 victory despite a spirited defensive performance from goalie Tiago Bonchristiano, which saw him tally 12 saves and a steal.
Leo Yuno opened the scoring for the home side at the 2:34 mark of the second period. Goals from Boris Jovanovic and Gvozdanovic followed soon after to give UCSB its 3-2 lead.
UCSB’s only third quarter goal came from Jacob Halle, off another assist by Gvozdanovic. The fourth quarter saw the Gauchos outscore UCLA for the second time in the contest, with a pair of goals coming from Jovanovic and one coming from Yuno.
Jovanovic finished with a match-high three goals, giving him a team-high 30 for the year, while Yuno added one. Gvozdanovic registered three steals to go along with his two assists, while Jovanovic and Mason McQuet notched two steals apiece.
The Gauchos (8-2) defeated the Tritons (6-2) to open the day, powered by a game-high four goals from Gvozdanovic. Four other Gauchos finished with a brace, as UCSB reeled off its fifth straight win.