Cuesta College sophomore goalkeeper Mia Viss is a returning 2016 All-Western State Conference First Team player, and she delivered for the Cougars.
Viss made 16 saves, she did considerable damage with her long, accurate outlet passes and Cuesta defeated Hancock College 10-6 in a WSC game at the Paul Nelson Aquatic Center.
"She's a returning all-conference player and a lot of our team is built around her," said Cuesta coach Pete Schuler who is also the school's Sports Information Director.
Cuesta is 12-9, 2-2. Hancock is 7-12, 1-2.
Schuler said, "We knew it would be a contrast of styles (Wednesday). We count on our outside, transition game and we knew they were strong inside.
"When we haven't been strong outside, that's where those nine losses have come from," Schuler said with a laugh.
Hancock goalkeeper Shay McMann had a big game herself. She made nine saves. However, that wasn't enough for the Bulldogs.
Hancock's Shannon Copeland scored the first goal of the game, at the 5:45 mark of the first quarter, but then Gabri Fabri started getting out ahead of the Hancock defense and Viss consistently connected with her.
Fabri scored a game-high six times. Edith Archibald and Shane Sorensen both scored two Cuesta goals.
Madidson Stangl scored three times for the Bulldogs. Copeland, Alicia Reyes and Ellyn Clardy all scored once.
"We knew Clardy was strong outside," said Schuler. "We knew they had some good inside players, too."
McMann made saves on Cuesta shots from close in twice in the span of 1:04 after Copeland scored. However, Fabri put in rebound shots both times.
After the Copeland score, the Cougars scored five unanswered goals. After leading 5-2 at halftime, Cuesta took a 7-2 lead into the fourth quarter.
To that point, Hancock's shooters, with Cuesta's defenders well-massed in the middle against the Bulldogs' set offense, had been mainly relegated to shooting outside the five-meter mark with Megan Coyne taking a lot of the shots.
Viss would usually reach up to make a save. Other shots went off the mark.
Down 7-2 at the 3:18 mark of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs finally solved the Cougars' set defense.
"By then it was too late," said Hancock coach Dominique Miller.
Stangl's five-meter penalty shot went off Viss' hand and across the goal line, starting a string of four Hancock goals in the last 3:18. However, Fabri scored twice herself during that span and helped the Cougars keep a healthy distance between themselves and the Bulldogs.
"Their goalkeeper is a returning all-conference player, and she hurt us with the outlet passes," said Miller.
"Our set defense was really good, but they hurt us on transition."
Hancock will play two Friday games at the Citrus College Tournament, against the host Owls at 11:20 a.m. and against East Los Angeles College at 6:20 p.m.