Caitlyn Kreutz can’t explain how she scored so many highlight reel-worthy goals during her career with the Buchanan High girls soccer team.
But Kreutz, The Bee’s Player of the Year for the second straight season, knows exactly why she was able to make them.
“I just never wanted to let my team down; I never wanted my season to end,” said Kreutz, who helped the Bears capture Central Section Division I titles during each of her four seasons. “I like to do it for everyone around me. I may be the one who scores, but it’s for everyone.”
Take the last score of her career, against El Camino Real in the opening round of this year’s CIF Southern California Regional Division I playoffs: She raced from midfield either through or past three defenders, lost control of the ball only to get it back, then stopped on a dime and blasted a game-winning goal in overtime that the Conquistador goalkeeper had no shot at stopping.
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Or the run Kreutz made against Bullard during the 2014 section D-I final: She stole the ball near midfield and worked through four defenders before slipping a left-footed shot past the keeper for the winning goal seconds before the final whistle sounded.
“Those kind of goals where she takes defenders 50, 60 yards, you don’t see them very often,” Bears coach Orlando Ramirez said. “Our motto is the team is the star. But when you have an individual that has the type of talent Caitlyn has, we wanted to allow her the freedom to do those special things she knows how to do. When they do happen, I’m almost like a fan. You can’t help but enjoy watching her play.”
Kreutz had 24 goals and 12 assists while leading the Tri-River Athletic Conference champion Bears to a 19-4-5 record and as high as a No. 22 national ranking by topdrawersoccer.com before falling out of its final Fab 50. For her career, Kreutz had 67 goals and 32 assists for Buchanan teams that went a combined 78-17-9.
In the process, the daughter of German (father Olaf) and Filipino (mother Rosemary) immigrants took her place next to Anisa Guajardo, Kacey Held and Elise Kreighoff among the greatest players in the history of a Buchanan program that has won nine of the past 10 section D-I titles.
“With the legacy and tradition of having very special players come there here, she has left her mark in a big way,” Ramirez said. “She’s right there with all of them. The type of drive and desire she has when she plays, there are very few people I’ve seen that have that. She’s a special person and we were very fortunate to have her.”
The trio of former Bee Players of the Year provided inspiration to Kreutz, particularly Kreighoff, whom she played alongside and learned a great deal from as a freshman.
“I wanted to be like those girls,” Kreutz said. “I wanted to be able to do what they did and help my team win.”
Kreutz is set to follow Kreighoff to Cal Poly after signing a letter of intent with the Mustangs in February. Kreighoff will be a senior, again serving as a mentor to Kreutz.
“I’m excited to be on the bottom again and be one of the younger girls,” Kreutz said. “That program is going to fit me very well.”