SOLANA BEACH — The Seahawks, Earl Warren Middle School’s eighth-grade girls volleyball team, went undefeated this year, winning 30 games to earn the title of Big 8 champions following 25-14, 25-15 wins against Rancho Santa Fe during the Nov. 12 finals at the Solana Beach Boys & Girls Clubs.
“It was really cool,” said player Ellie Auerbach, who was the last to serve in the final victories.
Ellie said the secret to the team’s success this season is friendship.
“We’re all really good friends,” she said. “We all work well together and everyone made it fun. That gave us more ambition to do well.”
Ellie said it was early in the season when the team thought they might go undefeated. “Carmel Valley is our biggest rival,” she said. “When we beat them we thought we could beat anyone.”
Head coach William Raschke agrees.
“The first time we beat Carmel Valley I thought, ‘This team is really impressive,’” he said.
“And it wasn’t because it was a great game. In fact, they started poorly but they improved throughout the game,” he added.
“The work these girls put in on and off the court, the way they interact with each other, is amazing.”
Raschke said he knew they would go all the way when the girls stepped it up on defense during the final games.
“We had a powerful offense with lots of big hitters,” he said. “But they had struggled a little during the season on defense. There were five or six points won that should have been lost. The amount of effort was amazing.”
Assistant coach Carly Auerbach, Ellie’s older sister, gave Raschke most of the credit for the undefeated season.
“He’s really a good coach,” she said. “He’s definitely what brought the team together. He’s the game-changer.”
She also said the ability of the players was impressive, beginning with team tryouts. “They started out with way better skills than when I played there two years ago,” she said. “As a team, they really could work together to make it click.”
In addition to Earl Warren, Rancho Santa Fe and Carmel Valley, the Big 8 includes teams from Oak Crest, Diegueño, Calavera Hills, Aviara Oaks and Valley middle schools.