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For the second time in the last three seasons, Long Beach State men’s water polo is headed back to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Golden Coast Conference Tournament Championship. The Beach beat Pacific 13-9 at UC Irvine on Sunday in the conference championship.
“This is a big accomplishment but we know the job isn’t finished and we need to go make some noise in the NCAAs,” LBSU’s Garrett Zaan said. “We’re excited for what’s next.”
LBSU goalkeeper Andrej Bosanac had eight saves and was named the GCC Tournament MVP after his two-game performance that included a total of 19 assists and four steals.
“Our goalie stepped up big time and saved us in critical moments,” LBSU coach Gavin Arroyo said. “That was the difference.”
Zaan scored a game-high four goals for LBSU while the Beach defense limited the Tigers to 31 percent shooting percentage. After a slow start, the offenses woke up and LBSU took an 11-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Beach had eight athletes score as Matt Morris (2), Alika Naone (2), Connor Mannion, Zach Frazier, Theo Pateros, Aaron Arias and Rafael Real Vergara found the back of the cage. Bosanac, Real Vergara and Zaan were named to the All-Tournament team.
“It’s been a process in terms of believing in themselves and realizing how good they could be,” Arroyo said. “They accelerated that process this last month and a half.”
LBSU secured the conference’s automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Tournament that will take place at UCLA on Dec. 4-5.