Gauchos knock off Stanford to reach SoCal semifinals

No. 6 UCSB scored its biggest men’s water polo win of the season, beating third-ranked Stanford 12-9 on Saturday to win its group and advance to the semifinals of the SoCal Invitational at Campus Pool.

It was the Gauchos’ first win over Stanford since Oct. 2, 2010, and it set up a semifinal matchup against UCLA at the Elings Aquatic Center at Dos Pueblos High on Sunday.

UCSB improved to 11-2.

What started out as a defensive gridlock shifted into a back-to-back scoring fest — bringing Gaucho fans to a “tortilla throwing uproar.”

Teddy Zhang opened the third quarter on a high for UCSB as he scored the first of three goals at 6:53 to tie the contest 4-4. The Cardinal went up 7-5 before a goal by Derek Shoemaker broke up the Stanford momentum, leaving the Gauchos down 7-6.

The Cardinal took an 8-6 lead, but a 4:08 goal by UCSB junior Evan Dellinger tied the game at 8-8. UCSB scored two unanswered goals, eventually outscoring the Cardinal 6-1 in the final period to conclude the game with a stellar 12-9 upset.

Zhang and Matt Gronow led offensively with a hat trick apiece, while Christian Myles tallied a season-high 15 saves.

UCSB’s first game of the day was a comfortable 15-8 win over No. 11 UC San Diego (6-4). Trailing the Tritons 6-4 at the half, the Gauchos had an explosive 6-0 third quarter before finalizing the defeat.

Dylan Bailani, Dellinger, Brenden McElroy, and Brian Shoemaker lead the Gaucho offense, scoring two goals each. Christian lead the defense with ten saves.