When they went a man down Tuesday thanks to a red card, Hancock College's players made sure their fortunes would perk up.
With the Bulldogs down two goals and playing 10-on-11 after Angel Gallo was hit with a red card in the 57th minute, Alex Herrera tallied in the 65th, 68th and 80th minute for Hancock, and the Bulldogs stunned Victor Valley College 3-2 in a Western State Conference crossover game at Hancock.
Herrera's hat trick was the first for any Bulldog this year.
The Bulldogs, who play in the WSC North Division, moved to 7-2-1. The Rams are 2-7-2.
Hancock won five games in 2016.
"It was hard," Hancock sophomore Migel Gomez said after he assisted Herrera on goals one and three (Mario Delgado assisted on the second one) Tuesday. Gomez was a member of the 2016 Hancock squad.
"I wasn't used to all that losing, man."
Herrera scored the game winner from smack in the middle of the Rams' penalty box. Victor Valley stepped up its attack some after that, but the Bulldogs held them off.
The Bulldogs thwarted a Rams attack near the back line to the left of the Hancock goal, and seconds later the game was over.
"We were able to find more holes in their defense," as the second half wore on, said Herrera.
"To be honest, they let us play and we took advantage," said Gomez.
The sophomore forward said, "They stopped pressuring us after the red card. They had been pressuring us."
Indeed, after the red card, Hancock usually looked like the team that was up a man.
The Rams slipped through cracks in the Bulldogs' defense in the 26th and 34th minutes, and their goals came then. Miguel Zarate scored in the 26th minute, and Jeremy Holguin scored in the 34th.
After the red card, though, Hancock passes that had missed when the Bulldogs were deep in Rams' territory earlier started connecting. All three of the Bulldogs' goals came after some nice ballwork by Hancock ball-handlers.
"I thought that was the best we've moved the ball all season," said Hancock coach Billy Vinnedge.
"Welcome to any sport, right?," Vinnedge said of the Bulldogs actually doing some of their best work after being a man down. "We took control of this match from the start. They had two good scoring opportunities, and they scored on both."
The Rams did come close to scoring a third goal in the first half, but a medium-range right-to-left shot banged off the left post.
Besides his ball-handlers Vinnedge was also extremely happy with his team's defense, particularly with the way the unit played after being a man down.
"After that unfortunate foul, which put us with three defenders, Joseph (Goryance) and, on the left side, Juan (Rios) really helped pick it up for us."
Goryance cleared a lot of balls from near the midfield area. Rios thwarted several deep Rams attacks.
The Bulldogs will play at Citrus College at 2 p.m. Friday in another WSC crossover game.
Santa Ynez 17, Santa Maria 1
Claire Collison swept three sets without dropping a game as the Pirates (4-7, 4-2) breezed to a Los Padres League win over the Saints at Santa Ynez.
Nikki Bastanchury lost four games in a three-set sweep for the Pirates at No. 1 singles. Ella Quinney and Vanessa Sparkes dropped five games in a three-set sweep at No. 1 doubles.
Karyme Calderon earned a singles win for the Saints.
Righetti 15, Pioneer Valley 3
Lauren Zimmer took three singles sets, and Lacey Snyder and Joselynn Rubio swept three doubles sets for the Warriors (5-4, 3-4) who won a PAC 8 League match at Pioneer Valley.
Melanie Naraval won a singles set, and Gizelle Melero and Ashley Barbosa teamed for a doubles win for the Panthers (0-7 PAC 8).
Orcutt Academy 3, Cabrillo 0
Zaley Bennett racked up 10 kills and Jake Shippey had eight for the Spartans (3-3 Los Padres League) who swept the Conquistadores 25-19, 25-22, 26-24 in a Los Padres League match at Lakeview Junior High School.
Allyson Britt made 16 digs for Orcutt.
Santa Ynez 3, Santa Maria 0
The Pirates (12-5, 5-1) swept the Saints 25-12, 25-15, 25-21 in a Los Padres League match at Santa Ynez.
Jazz Feeley racked up 16 digs for the Pirates. Rylynn Ibarra served four aces and Amanda Krystkowiak smacked five kills.
"Amanda came in and played really solidly," said Santa Ynez coach Tom Wright. "All 15 of our players got in, and the stats were really spread around."
Atascadero 257, St. Joseph 292
Atascadero freshman Katie Burson was the medalist, shooting a 39 on the par-35 front nine at Chalk Mountain in Atascadero as the Greyhounds defeated the Knights in a PAC 8 League match.
Sara Cossa led St. Joseph (2-2 PAC 8) with a 50. Alexis Mitchell (55), Jacquelin Mengel (60), Sophia Cordova (63) and Mackenzie Taylor (64) followed for the Knights.
Arroyo Grande 261, Paso Robles 279
Medalist Kayla Williams shot a 47 for the Bearcats, but the Eagles (6-1, 2-1) won this PAC 8 League match at the Paso Robles Golf Club.
Karley Pinkerton and Claire Marshall both shot a 48 for Arroyo Grande. Madi Iversen shot a 53 for the Eagles. Teammates Ava Mankins (54) and Sidney Pruett (58) followed.