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Men's Water Polo Nearly Finishes Upset Of UC Santa Barbara Before Overtime Loss

Pavo Ljepopio made 16 saves in his return to the starting lineup.

Oct. 13, 2013

Irvine, Calif. - Long Beach State rallied to take a fourth quarter lead against No. 6 UC Santa Barbara and struck in the closing seconds to force overtime, but ultimately lost 8-6 to the Gauchos at the SoCal Tournament. Pavo Ljepopio made 16 saves in his return to the cage for the 49ers.

UC Santa Barbara (14-3) took an early lead against the 49ers, holding Long Beach State (15-5) off of the board while opening up a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

That score held through most of the second as well, but Long Beach State recovered in the closing minutes, with Carter Taylor getting the 49ers on the board, and Milos Vrzic scoring just before the end of the half to pull Long Beach State to within one.

The 49ers converted with an extra man to tie the game at 3-3 in the third, and Nolan McConnell scored to give Long Beach State a 4-3 lead as the teams headed to the fourth quarter.

UC Santa Barbara scored twice with under two minutes remaining in regulation to regain the lead, but McConnell scored on the 49ers' final possession to force overtime. The Guachos scored the only goal in the first overtime, however, and took a two-goal lead before McConnell could bring the 49ers back to within one goal with 2:04 left in the second OT. Matt Gronow scored his third goal of the game to seal the win for UCSB, and the Gauchos held on behind 18 saves from Chris Whitelegge.

Long Beach State will finish the tournament by playing the hosts, No. 9 UC Irvine at 2 p.m. today.

No. 7 Long Beach State - 0, 2, 2, 1, 0, 1 | 6
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara - 3, 0, 0, 2, 1, 2 | 8

LBSU: Nolan McConnell 3, Devin Mefford, Carter Taylor, Milos Vrzic
UCSB: Matt Gronow 3, Derek Shoemaker 2, Kevin Cappon, Bryce Miller, Eric Van De Mortel



LBSU: Pavo Ljepopio, 16
UCSB: Chris Whitelegge, 18

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