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Abbott set up Sage's success

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Junior setter, a three-year starter and team captain, helped Lightning make history with postseason run.

December 06, 2013|By Matt Szabo
  • Sage Hill School junior setter Maddy Abbott is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Sage Hill School junior setter Maddy Abbott is the Daily… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

When she's not playing volleyball or hanging out with her friends, Maddy Abbott enjoys to write.

Abbott, a junior at Sage Hill School, is the sports editor for the Lightning school newspaper, "The Bolt."

"There's a lot of volleyball in our school paper, let me tell you," said Abbott, laughing. "We get a lot of press. I think people get sick of hearing about it."

But there's no doubt about one thing — the press is well-deserved.

This fall, Abbott has gone from the story-teller to the story.

The success of Abbott and the Lightning girls' volleyball team has been big news on campus this year. Abbott, a setter and one of three team captains with seniors Allie Mowrey and Claudia Noto, was instrumental in Sage Hill winning its third CIF title in program history and advancing to the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III championship match for the first time.

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Sage fell there, in four sets at top-seeded Visalia Central Valley Christian on Tuesday, yet the No. 3-seeded Lightning went down swinging.

That was literally true of Abbott. Yes, she dished out 44 assists, most of those to the big swingers on the outside, juniors Halland McKenna and Kekai Whitford. But Abbott was third on the team with six kills as well. Four times, she successfully executed a dump kill, catching CVC off-guard. Twice, she won jousts at the net.

Coach Dan Thomassen knows he has a strong, smart and versatile volleyball player in Abbott, a three-year starter for Sage at setter. What's more striking to him is Abbott as a person. She's very well-rounded in her interests as well, as she is a member of the Sage Hill student ambassadors and honor committee programs. Abbott, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, carries a 4.2 grade-point average.

"If you sit down with Maddy for five minutes or less, you'll find out that her character and her integrity are absolutely as good as it gets," Thomassen said. "My first few conversations with her, it took no time to realize that she was going to be a cornerstone of anything we were going to try to do, just because of her attitude and work ethic. Some kids seem to be in a good mood all the time, and I think she's genuinely in a good mood, especially when she's playing volleyball. She literally loves coming to practice ... and she balances that with intensity as well. She loves competing. She really likes those clutch moments."

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