Los Angeles, Calif. - A balanced offensive attack propelled the No.8-seed Pacific men's water polo team to an 11-10 victory over No. 5-seed UC Santa Barbara Saturday, November 26, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament match at UCLA's Spieker Aquatics Center.
With the win, the Tigers secured a spot in the tournament's fifth-place match for the first time since the 2006 season. They will face the winner of the UC Irvine-Pepperdine match that will take place later today.
Junior Goran Tomasevic keyed the Tigers' offensive attack in the first frame, scoring a trio of goals. With UC Santa Barbara ahead 2-1, Tomasevic scored to tie the match with 4:23 left. After a third UCSB score, Pacific again looked to its dominant two-meter player, who scored on a penalty at the 1:46 mark. Just 39 seconds later, Tomasevic netted his third goal of the frame off of a pass from sophomore Balazs Erdelyi, putting the Tigers up 4-3.
Pacific took a two-goal lead after senior Daniel Lungu converted a penalty shot at the 6:30 mark. The Gauchos responded with consecutive power-play goals, both from Matt Gronow, to tie the match at 5-5 with 5:08 left. Erdelyi put the Tigers back on top with 1:58 remaining before senior Tom Koning scored from mid-pool as the buzzer sounded, giving Pacific a 7-5 advantage heading into intermission.
UC Santa Barbara would make it a one-goal game twice in the third quarter but were unable to stop the Tigers' offensive attack. Koning scored on a power play to put Pacific up 8-6 with 1:47 left before Tomasevic tallied his fourth goal of the match with just two seconds left, giving the Tigers a 9-7 lead with eight minutes left to play.
The Gauchos managed to cut Pacific's lead to one with 3:30 remaining, but freshman Alex Obert recovered a Tiger miss and put the resulting shot past the keeper to put the Tigers ahead 10-8 at the 2:58 mark. A goal from Erdelyi off of a pass from Lungu gave Pacific a three-goal advantage with two minutes left that would prove too much for UCSB to overcome. The Gauchos managed a pair of late goals but came up empty on their final possession.
Tomasevic led all scorers with four goals while Koning added three scores. Sophomore Alex Malkis registered eight saves in a complete-game effort.
UC Santa Barbara was paced by Jesse Gillespie's three goals. Jay Lovero notched eight saves in four quarters of play.
Pacific will play for fifth place tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. against the winner of the UC Irvine-Pepperdine match. Fans can watch live video of the match by visiting the tournament's official website.
Pacific 11, UC Santa Barbara 10
Pacific 4 - 3 - 2 - 2 -- 11
UCSB 3 - 2 - 2 - 3 -- 10
Pacific - Tomasevic 4, Koning 3, Erdelyi 2, Lungu, Obert
UCSB - Gillespie 3, Gronow 2, Van de Mortel 2, Gaughan, Komadinic, D. Shoemaker
Pacific - Malkis 8
UCSB - Lovero 8