Torrey Pines high school seniors Meg Kraft and Delaynie Maple have done a lot of winning lately. That includes advancing into Tuesday’s CIF Open Division regional final, where the top-seeded Falcons will play third-seeded Mater Dei.
The combination of Kraft and Maple for the San Diego-area prep volleyball powerhouse has been dominant.
Kraft, a 6-foot six-rotation right-side, has 283 kills this season while hitting .381, adding 209 digs and 53 aces. Maple, a 5-11 outside, has 324 kills, hit .278 and has 315 digs and 26 aces.
But that’s indoors. Their true love, evidently, is on the beach. Both are 2020 commits to USC, where they will play beach only.
The pair of 17-year olds have experienced unprecedented success on the beach. The duo shocked the AVP Hermosa field by finishing a remarkable fifth, ultimately eliminated by Crissy Jones and Zana Muno in a tough 21-17, 17-21, 16-14 quarterfinal.
Incredibly, Kraft and Maple have only played four AVP events, making the main draw in Huntington before being eliminated by Jessica Sykora and Brittany Tiegs 21-17, 20-22, 16-14.
Their high school team is on a roll and defeated Marymount 25-23, 32-20, 25-15 in the semifinals. Mater Dei advanced by beating second-seeded Redondo Union 19-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-23, 15-6.
“I like the team part of indoor,” Kraft said. “The chemistry, and how the team that has the most chemistry will be the most successful. It’s kind of the same on the beach, you need a really good partner that supports you, but the beach has my heart. I love it, I love the grind of having only two people on the court, but indoor is super-fun.”
That makes Torrey Pines coach Brennan Dean happy.
“Meg’s our engine, Delaynie’s our heart,” Dean said.
“Meg just keeps us moving. She’s an impact player in so many ways, as far as the block goes, as far as offensively, she changes what hitters want to do, she can beat them with power and she can beat them with a soft roll shot. She’s as calm kid, she doesn’t get rattled.
“People will block her, they’ll yell in her face. I’ll ask her after the match, ‘What were you thinking when she yelled in your face?’ and she replied, ‘Coach, I didn’t even know she was yelling at me.’
“She’s just an awesome human being.”
Dean said Maple’s volleyball IQ is key.
“Her vision of the court, her offensive and defensive play is one of the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve coached a lot of great players,” Dean said.
“Her vision and her ability to defend and also find holes in the court has got to be one of the best I’ve ever had. She’s an exceptional kid, and has a huge heart, big smile, and is a great human being. Great captain.”
Growing up in San Diego, Kraft played beach for years, but didn’t get competitive until her freshman year.
“I knew right away that this was what I wanted to do. It felt different than indoor, I really like working on every skill, not just hitting and blocking for indoor. I just enjoy the beach training.”
Maple’s beach career came into focus in 2018, when she moved from Temecula to San Diego to train with the WAVE beach program.
“Indoor used to be my passion. It still is, but once I started playing on the beach, there was nowhere else I wanted to be,” Maple said. “I’m a pretty independent person in life, so it’s easier for me when it’s just me and one other person, and ever since I started playing with Meg, it’s fun. We just flow really well, and it’s such a fun atmosphere. It’s a super-supportive atmosphere because it’s a new sport, I think everyone is super-supportive of each other, wants the best for everyone, and wants everyone to do as well as they can.”
Kraft found partnering with Maple easy.
“Delaynie’s great, she’s such a supportive partner, we just clicked,” Kraft said. “We don’t need to talk to each other anymore, we know what we need on the court, we support each other endlessly, and it’s a great partnership.”
Their AVP Hermosa finish surprised even them.
“It was surreal,” Kraft admitted. “We did not expect to go that far at all, we’re just excited to play really good teams that would make us better by playing well. It was a dream come true.”
Maple, who enjoys hanging out at Del Mar beach and frequents the San Diego Zoo with her brother, agreed.
“It was amazing. It was the most fun three days of my whole entire life,” Maple said. “Meg’s my best friend, so it’s so fun that we’re able to do this together, and we had so many of our friends come and support us.
“It’s such a cool atmosphere with everyone there, and we got to meet some of our idols it was such a surreal three days.”
Among the Hermosa highlights were hanging out in the players tent in between matches, Maple said.
“It’s the coolest thing ever. We were eating lunch, and Meg is a huge Phil Dalhausser fan, and I’m a fan of Stafford Slick, we were sitting there, and they were like five feet from us,” she said. “Of course, we’re both pretty shy, so we didn’t talk to them, but definitely one of the top five moments of our whole life.”
The CIF season ends this Saturday. So whenever Torrey Pines finishes, their focus will turn to the beach and their future USC careers.
“We have a really good relationship with a lot of the girls and we’re really good friends with the incoming class this year,” Maples said.
“Our plan for this year is to just keep grinding away and train as hard as we can,” Kraft said, “We’ll find our place on the roster if we can next year.”