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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Vikings win both boys and girls championships at Pauma Volleyball Tournament


Last updated 10/25/2019 at 12:57pm

Vallecitos Elementary School girls' volleyball team celebrates winning the Pauma Volleyball Tournament.

Seven small elementary schools in northern San Diego County and southern Riverside County participate in sports tournaments with each school hosting a different sport each month. The 2019-2020 tournaments began Oct. 10 with the Pauma Volleyball Tournament at Pauma Elementary School. Vallecitos Elementary School won both the girls' championship and the boys' championship.

The Pauma Volleyball Tournament consisted of round-robin play. All matches were one game to 20 points, although a team had to win by two points. The Vallecitos girls won all six of their matches while the Viking boys won five of their six competitions.

"I'm just pretty happy that we were able to get first place for both boys and girls," Vallecitos coach Ray Hanbeck said.

Hanbeck coached the Vallecitos boys during the matches and also coached both the boys and girls during practice. The boys and girls matches were played simultaneously, and Erin Eulberd coached the Vallecitos girls.

Six players from each team were on the court at one time. Vallecitos had 19 girls and 14 boys participating in the Pauma Volleyball Tournament. The core group of six girls consisted of three eighth-graders and three sixth-graders while the six core boys were comprised of three eighth-graders, a seventh-grader and two sixth-graders.

The Vallecitos girls opened play with a 20-3 victory over Hamilton Elementary School from Anza and defeated Pauma Elementary School in a 20-9 contest.

"We beat them pretty handily," Hanbeck said.

A Vikings win over Borrego Springs Elementary School was followed by a 20-5 triumph against Cottonwood Elementary School from Aguanga. Vallecitos then defeated Warner Elementary School in a 20-12 match.

That set up a finale between Vallecitos and Julian Elementary School.

"Julian was our toughest opponent. We were both undefeated going into that game," Hanbeck said.

The requirement to win by at least two points extended the game until Vallecitos obtained a 25-23 victory.

"It was well played by both teams," Hanbeck said. "It was a hard-fought game. A lot of volleys."

Whichever team won had to score at least two consecutive points, and Vallecitos did that while preventing Julian from such a streak to end the game.

"When it came down to it we were able to keep the scoring going," Hanbeck said.

Hanbeck added that the Vikings did so in the sixth game of the day.

"It showed that they had stamina," he said.

"They played very well together," Hanbeck said of the Vallecitos girls. "Everyone was equal in their participation and their competitiveness as well as being able to play very well."

When Vallecitos had a safe lead, substitutes were used. The team consisted of seven eighth-grade girls, so the eighth-graders who will be at another school next year were the first substitutes to appear on the court.

The positions were based on win-loss record, and in the case of teams with identical records, points scored was used as the tiebreaker. Julian's girls took second place while Warner was the third-place team.

The Vallecitos boys began with a 20-3 win against Hamilton and a 20-11 triumph over Pauma. The victory over Borrego was followed by a 20-9 win in the match with Cottonwood.

Warner handed the Vikings their only loss, but the match required a 21-19 overscore. Julian had previously defeated Warner as well as every other opponent, so the match between Julian and Vallecitos had championship implications.

Vallecitos Elementary School boys' volleyball team poses with the first place tournament trophy.

"They had to be resilient," Hanbeck said of his players. "They had to overcome a really tough opponent. The game testifies to that."

Vallecitos was on the winning end of the 23-21 final score.

"That was a hard-fought game," Hanbeck said. "It came down to the last point."

The result gave Vallecitos and Julian identical 5-1 records. The tiebreaker of points scored gave Vallecitos first place and Julian second place. Pauma took third place.

"They were competitive even in the toughest game that they lost," Hanbeck said. "They did a really good job of overcoming the really tough games as well as winning the other games pretty handily."

The Vallecitos volleyball players had been practicing for the tournament since the last week of August. The school's next tournament will be the Vallecitos Soccer Tournament which will take place Nov. 14 contingent upon favorable weather.


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