Nov. 17, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The sixth-ranked 49ers finished conference-play with a 12-10 win over No. 7 UC Santa Barbara on a rainy afternoon at the UCSB Campus Pool to conclude the season with an overall record of 22-7 and 4-4 in MPSF play. Nolan McConnell and Dan Matulis each recorded a hat-trick for the 49ers while Balint Meszaros recorded 11 saves to finish the regular season with 258 saves, good for sixth on the list for saves in a single-season.
This is the best finish the 49ers have had in conference play since 2004 placing fourth in the conference. The match started and ended with physical play as both teams combined for 25 exclusions the entire match.
UC Santa Barbara started the match with a 2-0 run before the 49ers (22-7, 4-4 MPSF) responded with a 3-0 run. The Gauchos (15-10, 1-7 MPSF) would follow with two more goals in the first before Milos Vrzic found the back of the cage with 52 seconds remaining to end the first period with the scored tied at four.
Both teams exchanged goals in second frame before Derek Shoemaker fired one past Meszaros to give UCSB the 7-6 lead heading into the half.
McConnell started the second-half for the 49ers with a nice fake to freeze the Gaucho's Myles Christian for nice floater into the goal.
Meszaros grabbed a huge save on UCSB's counter-attack after Spencer White had the ball stolen on a breakaway. Meszaros denied Brendan McElroy a second time on a 6-4 disadvantage for the 49ers to hold UC Santa Barbara scoreless in the third frame.
After a double exclusion was called with 25 seconds left on the clock, White broke free from the defense and lobbed Matulis a perfect pass to slam in for the 9-7 lead heading into the final frame.
Long Beach State began the final quarter with a 3-0 run with goals from White, Matulis, and McConnell. The Gaucho's would rally with three-straight goals in the last 1:50 seconds but it wasn't enough as the
49ers held on for the 12-10 victory to wrap up conference play 4-4.
Long Beach State will return to action Nov. 23-25 for its first appearance at the Mountain Pacific Conference Tournament since 2008. Time and who the 49ers will play first are still pending on results from this weekend.
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