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Sage Hill standout Danner moves on

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior helped Lightning reach CIF Division 3-A final, where they lost to rival St. Margaret's in five sets.

November 23, 2012|By Matt Szabo
  • Sage Hill School's Maggie Danner is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Sage Hill School's Maggie Danner is the Daily Pilot… (STEVEN GEORGES )

Maggie Danner has been on the Sage Hill School varsity volleyball team since she was a freshman.

You could say her senior year ended abruptly. The No. 3-seeded Lightning lost to top-seeded rival St. Margaret's in five sets in the CIF Southern Section Division 3-A title match Nov. 17 at Cypress College. The following day, they found out they weren't selected for the CIF State playoffs like they were last year.

The main picture that ran in this newspaper after the CIF title match was of Danner, crushed, crying on the shoulder of a teammate. The loss was stunning for the senior outside hitter, a team captain.

But life goes on. Danner said she will play club this year with a St. Margaret's rival, Gigi Morally, on a TStreet 18-and-under team. Danner is also planning to play college volleyball at Amherst College in Massachusetts, a Division 3 program.

But just being in the CIF title match against St. Margaret's for the second straight year, after helping Sage win the Division IV-AA title last year? Those are memories that Danner won't soon forget.

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"Even though we didn't win this year, going to the finals two years in a row is so exciting," she said. "Not many people get that opportunity. It was fun. Every game is fun, every volleyball season is fun. Playing St. Margaret's is always intense ... This year was just as exciting as last year, even though we didn't win. I got to end my high school volleyball career on such a good note."

Danner, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, revels in the team aspect that volleyball provides. Yet, individually, she played some of her best volleyball at the end of the season.

Sage Hill Coach Dan Thomassen said that another of his outside hitters, sophomore Halland Mckenna, suffered a sprained ankle in warmups in the 3-A final. Mckenna gutted it out, playing through the injury to record 10 kills, but she clearly wasn't at 100%.

The Tartans were able to key on Danner, who nevertheless had one of her best matches. She tallied 23 kills, three aces and three blocks. She almost helped Sage Hill (21-6) rally from two sets down before the Tartans prevailed, 25-20, 25-22, 11-25, 17-25, 15-8.

"She definitely played her best at the most important time," Thomassen said. "The entire playoffs, she's been a go-to hitter. We usually spread it out, but she's been extremely consistent."

Versatile, too. Danner led the Lightning with 286 kills this year, but she was also third on the team with 47 aces and 202 digs.

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