No. 14 UCSB Downed by Fourth-Ranked UC Irvine, 9-7

No. 14 UCSB Downed by Fourth-Ranked UC Irvine, 9-7

Nov. 20, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The No. 14 Gauchos (13-17, 0-8) were unable to hold on to a lead they held for the majority of the first half before losing to No. 4 UC Irvine (17-10, 6-2) on "Senior Day" at Campus Pool on Sunday.

Before the match, UCSB honored its four graduating senior water polo players: drivers Ramiro Saldain and Bret DeMuth, two-meter defender Jarrod Muenter, and goalkeeper Jon Bonafede. Each player was introduced individually before being presented roses by Head Coach Wolf Wigo. Family members of the players were also invited to come down and take a picture with each player. DeMuth was joined by his parents Joanne and Larry, Bonafede by his parents Jennifer and Jack and his sister Jessie, Muenter by his parents Karen and Craig, and Saldain by his mother Liliana and sister Leticia.

The Gauchos came out strong offensively in the first quarter, posting the first two goals of the match. Freshman driver Miles Price got the ball rolling for the Gauchos, scoring the first of his two goals on the match within the first minute of play. Freshman Chris Lantz put the Gauchos up by two when he netted a goal late in the first quarter, but UC Irvine answered back quickly to cut the UCSB lead to one headed into the second quarter. The Anteaters kept the momentum from the first quarter and quickly evened the score at two apiece. With 5:40 left to play in the first half, freshman Travis Watts netted his first of two goals to put the Gauchos on top. Irvine was unfazed and managed to even the score at three at the halftime break when Taylor Wells found the back of the net with 1:23 to play in the second.

The third quarter belonged to the Anteaters offensively. UC Irvine's Nate White posted two unanswered goals in the third to take a 5-3 lead into the fourth quarter. The Gauchos cut the lead to one goal early in the fourth when freshman left-hander Dane Lindstrom netted his only goal of the afternoon. Tim Hutten answered back for Irvine by notching his second of the day on the ensuing possession. UCSB knotted the score at six with Price's second goal and sophomore Matt Tilburg's only goal of the match. Once again, UCI failed to be discouraged and quickly retained the two-goal lead with its next two possessions. Watts gave the Gauchos hope by putting a deep shot past Anteater keeper Joe Wynne to cut the lead to 8-7, but Hutten quickly erased that hope by netting his third and final score of the match and giving the Anteaters the 9-7 victory over UCSB.

Bonafede played the first half and the last 2:30 of the fourth quarter in goal for the Gauchos. The Upland, Calif. native tallied four saves between the posts for UCSB. Sophomore Rick Wright was in goal for the third quarter of play, posting one save. Goalkeeper James Street tallied one save in 4:30 of the fourth quarter. Wynne posted six saves in goal for UC Irvine.

The Gauchos would like to thank all the fans that came out to support the team this season. In addition, UCSB would like to thank DeMuth, Bonafede, Muenter, and Saldain for their contributions to the UCSB men's water polo team over the past few years.

Team                       1     2     3     4     Total
UC Santa Barbara           2     1     0     4       7
UC Irvine                  1     2     2     4       9
UC Santa Barbara goals: Miles Price-2, Travis Watts-2,
Matt Tilburg-1, Chris Lantz-1, Dane Lindstrom-1
Irvine goals: Tim Hutten-3, Nate White-3, Cole Bitter-1,
Taylor Wells-1, Curt Merlo-1
Goalie Saves
UC Santa Barbara: Jon Bonafede-4, Rick Wright-1,
James Street-1
Irvine: Joe Wynne-6