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Kreitenberg now leads

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior middle blocker has shown maturity for Sage Hill, which plays at La Jolla Country Day on Saturday night.

November 25, 2011|By Matt Szabo

In terms of height, Zoe Kreitenberg has not grown much during her four years at Sage Hill School.

Coach Dan Thomassen said Kreitenberg's height already stood out the first day she showed up to volleyball practice as a freshman.

"She didn't come into any of our summer camps or anything," Thomassen said. "She just walked into our tryouts the first day, and I hadn't seen her. All I knew was that she was tall."

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Kreitenberg has always played middle blocker for the Lightning. Most of her physical growth already occurred before she stepped foot on campus.

In terms of mental and emotional growth, though, Thomassen has seen a drastic change from the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.

"When she came in as a freshman she was pretty unwilling to learn from adults and other girls on the team," Thomassen said. "She kind of wanted to do things her own way."

Does that sound like a girl who will play at the United States Military Academy at West Point next year? It is obvious how much Kreitenberg has matured.

For the Lightning the middle blocker is a clear leader, one of three senior captains on arguably the best team in program history. They've already won a CIF State playoff match on Tuesday, which no Lightning team had ever accomplished. And Kreitenberg also came up big last Saturday night in the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA title match. She tied for the team lead with 15 kills and added seven block assists and one solo block as the Lightning outlasted the defending champions, rival St. Margaret's, 27-29, 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 15-9, at Cypress College.

The CIF title was the second in program history for Sage, which plays at defending state champion La Jolla Country Day on Saturday night in a CIF State Southern California Regional Division IV quarterfinal. Kreitenberg was a huge reason why the team was able to do it.

Yet, on this team, everyone contributes.

"I'm just honored to be a part of such a good team," Kreitenberg said. "There's no one person who stands out more than the rest; it's everyone doing their job together. It's a great thing. It's beautiful. I've never been on a Sage team that's that way before … we have such depth on our roster."

It hasn't always been that way for the Lightning (26-5). Kreitenberg has seen the program move forward from when she was a freshman on varsity, learning a lot about the middle blocker spot from her then-senior teammate Tierney Danner.

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