Long Beach State men’s water polo suffered a 10-11 loss against UC Santa Barbara at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center Saturday.
The game came down to the wire as No. 7 Long Beach and No. 4 UCSB remained neck-and-neck throughout the evening.
The jam-packed bleachers were filled with students and supporters for both teams, creating a rowdy environment. Fans were on their feet throughout the night.
“As a coach, you just want your team to be in a position to win,” said head Coach Gavin Arroyo . “We were, but it didn’t work out obviously. I felt like we competed. I felt, obviously, like we were engaged in the moment, as basic as that sounds.”
Long Beach (12-9, 1-1 Golden Coast) claimed the lead early against UCSB (16-5, 1-1 Golden Coast), entering halftime with a score of 6-5. The Gauchos came back strong in the third quarter, scoring three goals to the Beach’s one.
The Gauchos held a one-point advantage leading into the fourth quarter with a score of 8-7. The narrow match saw both teams trading scores back and forth until UCSB secured the lead and claimed the victory.
“I think we played well as a team,” sophomore center/defender Aaron Arias said. “We missed some opportunities, but it was all there. We were clicking, and we were doing great as a team. We did everything we wanted to do, we just needed to finish our opportunities.”
The Beach struggled to execute on offense during critical moments, according to Arroyo.
“That’s what the game came down to,” Arroyo said. “We had our chances.”
Vergara finished the game with four goals and a steal.
“Rafael did what he was supposed to do, and Garrett Zaan played well in our losing effort,” Arroyo said. “But it was a losing effort, so we have to start over again.
Zaan and junior attacker Nemanja Bakic each scored two goals, while Morris and Pateros scored one a piece.
“Every game we are improving, [but] we still need to improve our defense,” Vergara said. “We start very well, but, at the end, we let them score easy goals, and our offense wasn’t working that well, like [during] the first two quarters.”
Long Beach State men’s water polo will host UC San Diego Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center.