No. 7 UCSB Finishes First at Triton Invitational

Sophomore driver Nathan Puentes scored three goals across the Gauchos' pair of wins on day two of the 2019 Triton Invitational. (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Sophomore driver Nathan Puentes scored three goals across the Gauchos' pair of wins on day two of the 2019 Triton Invitational. (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team closed out the 2019 Triton Invitational with a pair of wins over opponents in the top-5 of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) rankings on Sunday afternoon.

No. 7 UCSB 8, No. 4 Cal 5

The Gauchos achieved their first win over the Golden Bears since 2004 as goalkeeper Danny Roland once again came up big with nine saves, including four when Cal was on the power play and a penalty shot save.

Cal went up 3-1 early in the first quarter, but goals from sophomore drivers Nathan Puentes and Ryan Brosnan brought the Gauchos back and evened the score at three apiece.

Each squad added a point to its tally in the second quarter, keeping the game tied heading into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Gauchos were finally able to pull away. UCSB scored four unanswered goals, with the first coming 43 seconds into the third period via senior utility Ivan Gvozdanovic. Sophomore utility Connor Moynihan added another to make the score 6-4 with 5:35 left in the quarter, and Puentes picked up his second of the game with just under three minutes to go.

Senior attacker Jacob Halle scored the Gauchos' final goal in the historic win, finding the back of the Cal net with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.

No. 7 UCSB 12, No. 5 Long Beach State 9

UCSB capped off its successful weekend with a win in the first-place matchup against GCC rivals No. 5 Long Beach State.

The Gauchos used a five-goal second quarter to take a commanding 8-3 lead into halftime, with all goals up to that point coming from six different players.

The Beach clawed its way back into the game after outscoring UCSB 4-1 in the third quarter to narrow the deficit to a 9-7 Santa Barbara lead.

Long Beach would go on to score the first two goals of the fourth quarter within the first four minutes of the final period and tie the game up at 9 apiece.

As the game reached its climax, a crucial goal from redshirt freshman center Adam Lott put the Gauchos back on top 10-9 with just over two minutes to go.

No more than 22 seconds later, the Beach would concede a penalty shot opportunity that was converted by the Gauchos' Puentes to extend the lead.

With 33 seconds left, senior driver Tommy Fellner scored to seal victory and the first place finish for the Gauchos.

Roland made an eye-popping 18 saves in the match.

The Gauchos will play at the Inland Empire Classic in Redlands next weekend, on Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15.

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