Pacific holds Gauchos back in 8-7 decision

STOCKTON After battling through four ties and five lead changes, the No. 6 UCSB men’s water polo team came up short at No. 7 Pacific on Sunday afternoon, falling 8-7 at the Tigers’ Chris Kjeldsen Pool.

With the loss, UCSB falls to 10-8 on the season and to 1-4 in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. Pacific improves to 14-8 overall and 2-3 in conference games.

Balazs Erdelyi gave the Tigers an early lead just 17 seconds into the game, but Brian Bishop tied the game at one all on the ensuing Gaucho counter attack. Pacific regained the advantage with a goal by Tom Koning with 3:47 to go in the first quarter, but Zsombor Vincze once again knotted the game for the Gauchos with 1:06 on the clock.

Vincze gave UCSB its first lead of the game 54 seconds into the second quarter on a power play. Pacific was able to tie the game at 4:54 mark with a second goal from Erdelyi. At the end of the first half, the teams were deadlocked at 3-3. UCSB had four man-up opportunities that it failed to convert during the period, but for its part, Pacific also struggled going 0-for-3 during its second quarter six-on-fives.

Each team exchanged a goal early in the third quarter, but the Tigers scored back-to-back goals to take their largest lead of the game at 6-4 with less than a minute to go. With 16 seconds remaining in the quarter, head coach Wolf Wigo called a timeout. Noah Smith scored just six seconds after resuming play to cut the Pacific lead back to one goal at 6-5.

Pacific drew an ejection early in the fourth period and called a 30 second timeout to set-up a power play. Erdelyi scored his third goal of the game on the man-up play to stretch the lead back to two goals. UCSB countered with a goal from Dylan Baliani with 5:05 on the clock, but Pacific responded as Koning notched his third goal of the game with just 2:16 remaining.

During the next possession, the Gauchos cut the Tigers’ lead back to one goal when Matt Gronow scored. Wigo called two timeouts in the final minute of play in an attempt to setup a play that would once again tie the contest, but UCSB failed to score again, falling 8-7.

The Gauchos continue MPSF play next Saturday when they head to UC Irvine for a noon game. UCSB will return home the following day to take-on UCLA on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Campus Pool. Admission is free to all UCSB home men’s water polo games.


1 2 3 4 Final
UCSB 2 1 2 2 7
Pacific 2 1 3 2 8

UCSB Goals: Brian Bishop 2, Zsombor Vincze 2, Noah SmithMatt GronowDylan Baliani
UCSB Saves: Fraser Bunn 13

UOP Goals: Balazs Erdelyi 3, Tom Koning 3, Balazs Szabo 2
UOP Saves: Alex Malkis 11