San Jose, Calif.--- The San José State University men’s water polo team defeated conference opponent UC Santa Barbara 7-6 Friday night at West Valley College. The Spartans are now tied in fourth place in the Golden Coast Conference with a 9-7 record.
The San José State win over the Gauchos was the team’s first win over a conference opponent since the programs return in 2015.
“We are a young group, and the guys came out and played well,” said San José State head coach Bruce Watson. “We are trying to build a winning culture, and this win is a good step forward for our team. This win will open up some people’s eyes. We are young, but the other teams will see what we are capable of.”
Santa Barbara struck first with goals from Shane Hauschild, and Brannan Haket to give the team momentum and the 2-0 lead.
Giacomo Lovatelli answered the Gauchos 2-0 run with a goal, and began the Spartan assault. The squad went on a 3-0 run with a goal from Luka Cupic, and a pair of goals from Jacob Mercep. The Spartans momentum carried into the third quarter when the team captured a 6-3 lead over UCSB.
Sophomore, Ben Hauschild, scored twice, and had a steal against his older brother Shane in the match.
Finn Pardon scored in the beginning of the fourth period to hold off the Gauchos just long enough to seal the win.
TJ Palmer had seven saves, and picked up his seventh win of the season.
The Spartans take their four-game win streak to Berkley, California October 15, to take on No.3 Cal.