Kelli Greiner has held down a part-time job since the start of her senior year at Ocean View High.
Greiner works at Pieology Pizzeria in Westminster three or four days a week. Tell her the toppings you want, and she will craft a custom pizza.
“I’m pretty simple when it comes to pizza,” Greiner said. “I just like pepperoni. Sometimes people put everything on it, all of the meats, artichoke, everything. I just go with it. I just do what they tell me to do.”
Greiner has to be more authoritative on the volleyball court as a libero for the Seahawks girls’ volleyball team. She has spent each of her four years on varsity as the starting libero, the leader of the Ocean View defense.
Greiner stopped playing club volleyball this year, and she said she doesn’t plan to play the sport competitively in college. Her motivation is simple. Her volleyball career will last as long as Ocean View, the No. 4 seed in the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs, can keep its postseason push going.
She has already done much to help the Seahawks (21-3), who have won 15 straight matches, get in the best possible position to contend for a section title. Ocean View hosts San Gabriel Academy (19-7-2) in a second-round match Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Greiner helped Ocean View win the outright Golden West League title this season, after sharing it last year with Segerstrom. The Seahawks were never seriously challenged in the league, as eight of their 10 matches were sweeps and none went to five sets.
“The banner will be there in the gym forever,” Greiner said. “I know that if I come back to Ocean View and visit, I can go in the gym and know that I made an impact on the school. It just feels amazing, making an impact.”
Greiner hopes to continue the run. She is part of a five-player senior group that wants to lead the Seahawks to just their third CIF title match in program history. Ocean View won the Division IIIA championship in 1997, and was the Division IIIAA runner-up the following year.
Of the five seniors, Greiner and middle blocker Helen Reynolds are the ones who have spent four years on varsity. Outside hitter Jillian Pratt is the team captain, while opposite Cambria Adams and Marley Harris, who is in her first year of playing for the team, also play roles.
Second-year coach Joshua Nehls knows how tough it is to win CIF. He was a senior middle blocker on the 2012 Downey Warren boys’ volleyball team, which advanced to the Division 3 title match before losing to South Torrance.
Nehls also is aware that the libero doesn’t always get a lot of attention, but Greiner is invaluable for the Seahawks. In Ocean View’s first-round sweep of Anaheim on Thursday, she even ended the match with a back-row kill.
“Kelli and Jillian Pratt do a great job at keeping our serve receive in line, but that’s just one thing for [Greiner],” Nehls said. “She’s got a freaking bomb of a serve. It’s a heater straight over the net. On top of that, [she plays] just unbelievable defense. You see a middle [blocker] go to smash a quick [shot] with no blockers up, and somehow she’s right there under the ball, out of nowhere.
“We talk about our middles [Reynolds and sophomore Wendie Smith] a lot, but the sad part about being the libero is you don’t get that recognition a lot. Every time you hear that the middles are being ran like crazy, that means that you have a libero doing their job on the passing line. She’s that huge piece that gets us that advantage.”
Greiner said she’s made peace with the fact that she doesn’t always get the recognition. To her, it’s fine as long as the team is winning.
The Seahawks haven’t lost since dropping a Segerstrom Tournament match to Sunny Hills on Aug. 25. They started the year at No. 1 in the Division 7 poll and have occupied nearly every spot in the poll since, before settling in at No. 4. Temecula Linfield Christian, San Dimas and Ojai Nordhoff are the top three seeds in the postseason.
“It doesn’t matter, as long as you win in the end,” Nehls said. “All four of those top teams are undefeated in their leagues and had great seasons.”
Greiner believes the Seahawks can get it done. She said she has a 3.82 weighted grade-point average at Ocean View, and when the volleyball season ends, she will surely have more time to focus on her job and academics.
But the Seahawks’ 5-foot tall will definitely miss it.
“I’ve played this sport since seventh grade and it’s about to be over for me,” she said. “Yeah, it’s very emotional. I already know that after CIF and at the banquet, I’m just going to cry. I grew up with some of these girls.”
Born: May 5, 2001
Hometown: Huntington Beach
Height: 5 feet
Coach: Joshua Nehls
Favorite food: French fries
Favorite movie: “Up”
Favorite athletic moment: Helping Ocean View win the outright Golden West League title this season.