No. 3 Cal men’s water polo beats No. 8 UCSB, 12-9

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For most people, there’s really not much that can be accomplished in 15 seconds. In 15 seconds, you could probably fold one shirt, do simple arithmetic, take one bite of cereal or listen to one-twelfth of a song. But that’s how long it took junior Odysseas Masmanidis to find the net in the first period of the No. 3 Cal men’s water polo game against No. 8 UCSB and give Cal an absurdly early lead. He only let another 33 seconds pass before scoring again. Two goals in 48 seconds — clearly, time holds a much different meaning to athletes than it does to the rest of the population.

In the end, the Bears (12-1) managed to defeat the Gauchos (8-5) much more handily than their last matchup, winning 12-9 this time around after a close 9-8 win the last time the two played. Senior goalkeeper Kevin Le Vine had another strong game with big numbers and once again made 17 saves to help Cal on the defensive end.

After an aggressive offensive start, the Bears’ continued to lead but the game remained close. Following Masmanidis’s scoring spree were goals from UCSB sophomore Ivan Gvozdanovic and freshman Cole Brosnan, who tied the game at 2-2. But shots by junior Johnny Hooper and senior Luca Cupido kept Cal up and extended the Bears’ lead to two again. Junior Boris Jovanovic’s goal kept the Gauchos within one as the first period ended with Cal winning 4-3.

The second period featured a lot more exclusions than goals — the Bears had three and UCSB had five. Scoring didn’t come until there were only two minutes left until the half, when Cal freshman Spencer Farrar scored two and the Gaucho’s Brosnan scored one, making the score 6-4.

Cal continued to extend its lead to 10-7 in the third period with goals by Cupido, Farrar, senior Nic Carniglia and freshman Cameron Wright. UCSB also scored a few of its own thanks to Brosnan, freshman Chad Nelson and senior Reed Cotterill, not allowing the Bears to run away too much.

Less than 30 seconds into the start of the fourth period, senior Shane Hauschild scored for the Gauchos, cutting Cal’s lead to 10-8. UCSB’s efforts weren’t enough to derail Cal though, as goals from Carniglia and Hooper secured the Bears’ 12-9 win.

It was a big game for Farrar who lead the team with three goals. He was followed by Cupido, Masmanidis, Carniglia and Hooper, who all had two apiece. Additionally, redshirt junior Vassilis Tzavaras held a less-glorified role but just as important nonetheless, ending the game with two steals, assists, field blocks and ejections earned apiece to help push the Bears to the win.

This was a strong game for Cal with contributions across the board. Freshmen took advantage of opportunities and help contribute to the Bears’ success. While UCSB might not have the best ranking, it’s still in the top 10 and considered to be a pretty strong team. For Cal to put up a more definitive win against the Gauchos this time around displays the improvement that the Bears have been striving for.

Taylor Choe covers men’s water polo. Contact her at [email protected]