No. 1 Gauchos Sink Spartans in MPSF SoCal Invitational Opener

Jacob Halle scored two goals in the first quarter to help the Gauchos defeat San Jose State in UCSB's opening match of the MPSF SoCal Invitational. (Photo by Catharyn Hayne)
Jacob Halle scored two goals in the first quarter to help the Gauchos defeat San Jose State in UCSB's opening match of the MPSF SoCal Invitational. (Photo by Catharyn Hayne)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – In their first-ever game as the top-ranked team in the country, the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team successfully maintained its perfect record against the San Jose State Spartans on the first day of the MPSF SoCal Invitational at Spieker Aquatics Center on the campus of UCLA.

The Gauchos (14-0) scored twice within the opening minute via senior attacker Jacob Halle and junior attacker Cole Brosnan, and Halle added another with 4:39 to go in the first quarter to go up 3-0.

Having lost by only two goals to each of then-No. 4 Pacific and then-No. 8 Cal earlier in the season, San Jose State had proven they could hang with the best. The Spartans delivered three unanswered goals to make the score 3-3 after nearly four and a half minutes of play in the second quarter.

Brosnan's goal at the 3:03 mark pushed the Gauchos ahead once again, and sophomore driver Nathan Puentes scored his first goal of the game with 1:10 left to make the halftime score 5-3 to the Santa Barbara squad.

The Spartans kept it close for much of the third period, responding to senior driver Tommy Fellner's second half-opener with a power play goal to keep it a two-possession game, 6-4.

Puentes helped the Gauchos begin to pull away with under two minutes left in the third quarter, scoring an even-strength goal to go ahead 7-4.

Fellner scored twice in succession to start the fourth quarter, with sophomore attacker Sam Nangle adding the Gauchos' 10th goal with 3:40 left in regulation.

After the Spartans struck again through Finn Pardon with 3:18 left, neither team would score again until there were 31 seconds left in the match, as sophomore driver Ryan Brosnan completed the Gauchos' 11-5 victory.

UCSB will play No. 6 Pepperdine, who defeated No. 11 UC San Diego 12-8, on Saturday morning at 9:20 a.m.

Tomorrow's match will be the third meeting of the season between Santa Barbara and Pepperdine.

The Gauchos have won both previous meetings, the most recent of which was the 16-15 overtime thriller on Sept. 19 at Campus Pool.

Live stats for tomorrow morning's match will be available on the men's water polo schedule page.

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