Fifth-ranked UCSB opened its home water polo schedule in style on Saturday afternoon as the Gauchos downed visiting No. 11 UC San Diego (0-1), 18-10, at Campus Pool.
Junior Evan Dellinger led the Gauchos in the high-scoring affair with a career-high five goals. Junior Matt Gronow, who opened the season last weekend with consecutive hat tricks, posted a season-best four goals, one shy of his career high.
The Gauchos (3-0) jumped out an early lead in the first couple of minutes behind goals from Teddy Zhang and Gronow. A six-on-five goal from Brian Donohoe got the Tritons on the scoreboard and the two teams traded a pair to put the score at 3-2 heading into the final minute of the first quarter. Dellinger posted consecutive goals, including one with just four seconds to go, to give the Gauchos a three-goal lead heading into the second period.
Josh Stilling posted the first goal of the second – and the first of his four goals – with 4:42 on the clock, but the Gauchos were able to outscore the Tritons 3-1 in the final three and a half minutes of the first half to push their advantage to 8-4.
The third quarter was an offensive slugfest with the teams combined for 10 total goals, including three in the first minute alone. UCSB piled on seven goals during the period, including a pair from freshman Bryan Snyder.
Heading into the final eight minutes of the game, UCSB held a comfortable 15-7 lead. The Gauchos opened the quarter with consecutive goals from Gronow and Eric Van de Mortel and held on for the 18-10 victory.
Myles Christian was solid in the goal for the Gauchos as he compiled 12 saves in three quarters of work. Chris Whitelegge had three saves in the fourth.
The Gauchos’ 3-0 start is their best since 2010 when they opened with an identical record. UCSB will look to remain undefeated on Sunday when it heads to the Inland Empire Classic where the Gauchos will face host Redlands (9 a.m.), Santa Clara (11 a.m.) and Whittier (3:15 p.m.).