Christian’s goalkeeping leads Gauchos to first MPSF win

Goalie Myles Christian made 18 saves to help UCSB break into the win column in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with a 13-7 men’s water polo victory at UC Irvine on Sunday.

The win avenged an earlier defeat to the Anteaters at the Nor Cal Invitational.

UCSB, ranked No. 3 in the country, improved to 15-5 overall and 1-2 in the MPSF. No. 6 UC Irvine is 14-5, 0-2.

The Gauchos started fast as they scored four goals in the first four minutes of the match. Dylan Baliani had two of those goals and Derek Shoemaker and Nick Tomasello scored the other two. With 3:15 left in the opening period, Evan Dellinger increased the lead for the Gauchos to 5-2.

UCSB continued to score goals in the second period as Jake Miller scored with 7:19 remaining in the first half. The Gauchos defense shut down Irvine’s offense as they kept the Anteaters scoreless in the second period. Goals from Teddy Zhang and Brendan McElroy gave UCSB a comfortable 8-3 lead at the half.

Opening the third period, UCSB kept the pressure on UC Irvine. After a 6:23 goal by Jake Miller, the Gauchos scored three unanswered goals by Brian Shoemaker, Bryce Miller and Evan Dellinger. With the offense continuing to impress, UCSB ended the third period with a 12-7 lead.

The fourth period was no different as the Gauchos’ defense did not allow anymore goals. Evan Dellinger completed his hat trick as he scored the last goal of the match, giving UCSB the 13-7 victory.

Up next for UCSB is another conference match against Pepperdine on Saturday, Oct. 27, at noon at the UCSB Campus Pool.