BERKELEY, Calif. – In a battle between the two teams tied for the No. 4 national ranking, Cal defeated UC Santa Barbara 13-9 on Sunday at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears (14-7, 4-3), led by three goals apiece from their top two scorers Collin Smith and Aleksa Saponjic. The Gauchos fall to 15-9 and 1-6 in league play.
Seniors Marin Balarin and Mason Cox scored goals in their final home match at Spieker Aquatics Complex. Cox scored the first goal of the game at 6:17 in the first period, while Balarin scored with 3:56 left in the first half.
The contest between UCSB and Cal was tight through the first part of the match. Balarin’s goal in the second period gave the Bears a 7-5 advantage, but a score by the Gauchos’ Evan Dellinger with 2:52 left in the half got his team within one, and then Teddy Zhang tied the game at seven with a strong two-meter move to open the third period.
However, after Zhang scored, Cal rattled off four goals in a row in the third period — two by Saponjic and single goals from Smith and redshirt freshman Colin Mulcahy — to take an 11-7 advantage.
UCSB’s Eric Van de Mortel scored a goal with six second left in the third period to get his squad to within 11-8. The Bears’ redshirt freshman Thomas Agramonte put Cal back in control with back-to-back goals with 3:40 and 2:54 left in the match for a 13-8 lead. Then Van de Mortel scored his third goal of the match with 1:20 left in the contest for the final 13-9 tally.
Other scorers for the Bears included junior Hunter Gettelfinger in the first period and sophomore Luka Ivanovic in the second period. Sophomore goalie Jon Sibley finished with 10 saves.
“We had a solid second half defensively and really turned up the tempo in the third quarter,” Cal coach Kirk Everist said. “Thomas Agramonte gave us some good minutes and two key goals, and Aleksa [Saponjic] had some great counterattacks that helped us pull ahead. It was great to get another conference win, especially from [seniors] Mason and Marin.”