Nov. 12, 2006
After hanging with No. 3 UCLA for four periods to force double overtime, the No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team fell to the Bruins 7-6. UCSB drops to 18-12 overall and 3-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation while UCLA improves to 12-5 and 3-2 in the MPSF with the victory. Senior goalie Rick Wright had an excellent game in goal for the Gauchos with 19 saves.
"We need to come out intense and we did that, we followed our game plan," UCSB Head Coach Wolf Wigo said. "We had two defensive lapses and goals that we should have contested harder. The guys played a great game."
UCLA won the sprint to start off the first quarter and immediately took a shot on goal, which was blocked by junior driver Ross Sinclair. Neither side was able to score off back-to-back steals from both teams. An offensive foul caused a Santa Barbara shot on goal to be discounted. Both teams had multiple opportunities to capitalize on power plays but failed to do so, leaving the game knotted at zero at the end of the first period.
The Bruins got on the board first in the second quarter with a goal from beyond the seven-meter mark by freshman attacker Scott Davidson at the 6:28 mark. Santa Barbara answered right back with a goal from off a shot by freshman Stefan Partelow that hit the cross bar to fall in for a goal with 5:53 left to play in the half. UCLA called a timeout and came out of the break with another goal from Davidson to give the Bruins a 1-2 advantage. Senior defender Michael March scored next for UCLA with another goal from outside the seven-meter mark. The Gauchos responded less than a minute later with a skip shot goal made during a power play by sophomore driver Miles Price to bring UCSB to within one at the halfway point.
The Bruins won the sprint and scored first in the third period when UCSB left March unguarded during a power play to put one in with 4:36 left to play. Thirty seconds later, junior driver Coulson Lantz put one over the goalie's head to bring the score to 3-4, still in favor of the Bruins. Wright blocked an excellent backhand shot from the Bruins before senior driver Logan Powell rebounded a shot off Wright's arm to put UCLA up 5-3 with less than a minute to go in the quarter. The Gauchos took their time passing until sophomore driver Travis Watts got a good look from the seven-meter mark and scored for the Gauchos with the man advantage with 15 seconds remaining in the third period.
Carrying over the momentum from the third quarter score, Santa Barbara won the fourth period sprint. UCLA goalie denied junior two-meter Matt Dale a goal on fast break. After a timeout, freshman utility Zsombor Vincze scored for UCSB on a power play with 4:51 left in regulation to tie the score at five. The Bruins responded by Marco Santos putting one through at the 3:30 mark to give them the 6-5 lead. Wright blocked another backhand UCLA shot and had many key saves in goal to keep the Gauchos in the game. UCSB was rewarded for good defense with a possession after a field block and Wigo called a timeout to put together a game plan for the final two minutes of play in regulation. Price stepped up for the Gauchos and put one in to tie the game at six with 1:21 remaining. Neither team could find the back of the net in the final minute, forcing two overtime periods.
The Bruins won the sprint in the first overtime period and Powell took a shot on goal but Wright blocked it for the Gauchos. Price tried his hand at a goal but the UCLA goalie blocked it, giving the Bruins the ball. UCLA freshman driver Kevin Kuga skipped a shot past Wright to give the Bruins the 6-7 lead with 1:15 left in the first overtime period.
A false start to begin the second overtime period gave UCLA the ball but it failed to capitalize on the possession. Price took two shots but neither went in -- one from beyond the seven-meter mark and another that hit the cage and bounced off. UCLA took two shots in the second period--one from junior driver Matthew Jacobs and another from sophomore driver Krsto Sbutega-- but they both missed the net. After a timeout, Santa Barbara lost its last chance to score after turning it over to UCLA, which swam away with the ball, wasting the remaining 18 seconds.
"We hope that we can see a team like this at the conference tournament and beat them," Wigo said.
The Gauchos take on No. 20 Cal Baptist on Sunday afternoon at Campus Pool.
Scores by period: 1-2-3-4-OT1-OT2
UCLA goals: Scott Davidson 2; Michael March 2; Kevin Kuga; Logan Powell; Marco Santos
UCLA: Will Didinger 9
UCSB: Rick Wright 19