Coach Li, Founder/President
Coach Li was the setter of China Men's National Volleyball Team. He was, afterwards, named the head coach of various national volleyball teams, including China Army Women's Volleyball team, Singapore National Men's and Women's teams, and more importantly, China National Women's Volleyball Team. He led the China National team to win most individual games against national teams of Cuba, Brazil, Russia, and United States as well. Coach Li has received numerous awards and honors such as the "Coach of the Tournament" and the "Best Coach of Asia." With more than 30+ years teaching this sport, his impressive resume below speaks for itself.
4/08 - Present Founded North Carolina Volleyball Academy
12/04 - 4/08 Head Coach, CCVC, NC Challengers and local High Schools
09/02 -11/04 Assistant Coach, University of Maryland volleyball squad
07/99 - 03/01 First Assistant Coach, NC State University
03/98 - 03/99 Volunteer Coach, Cal State University, Northridge
02/95 - 02/98 President, Beijing Chinese Veteran Volleyball Club
02/93 - 02/95 Head Coach, China National Women's Volleyball Team
10/89 - 03/93 Head Coach, China Army Women Volleyball Team
08/86 - 10/88 Head Coach, Singapore National Men's and Women's Volleyball Team
10/83 - 08/88 Head Coach, China Army Women Volleyball Team
05/79 - 10/83 Assistant Coach, China Army Women Volleyball Team
09/74 - 09/78 Student, Beijing Sports University
10/70 - 09/74 Setter, China Men's National Volleyball Team
Jon Garner, Assistant Director/Staff Since 2017
Coach Garner joins Academy with more than 30 years of indoor and beach playing experience. He claimed his professsional beach volleyball status in the early 90s and played all over the United States and Caribbeans. Coach Garner jumped into coaching 23 years ago and has coached at some of the best volleyball clubs in the United States. Coach Garner most recently coached at Triangle volleyball club where he lead 16 Blue to a 5th place finish at USA Nationals. They also took 2nd place at NEQ and 2nd place at Capital City classic. He was also the beach volleyball director during his time at Triangle.
Coach Garner has also coached several years at the collegiate level, including stops at College of Charleston and Methodist University. He is currently the head coach at Louisburg College. He runs all the day to day operations for the volleyball program at Louisburg College.
Karl Redelfs, Assistant Director/Staff Since 2010
Coach Karl is a graduate from NC State University with a degree in mathematics education. He has played volleyball since high school. After high school, he started and coached the men’s club team at Covenant College for three years, then came to NCSU and played on their club team for 2 years. He has also coached at CCVC while finishing his degree, as well as played in multiple tournaments in the Charlotte area.
He is currently in his 5th year as the Varsity Head Coach at Green Hope High School.
Krista McGivern, Associate Director Since 2011
Coach Krista was a 3 sport athlete (Volleyball, Basketball and Softball) who earned many all conference awards, MVP awards and sports recognitions throughout her playing career in High School, College and Travel Teams. She is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a BS in Sports Management and is also a graduate of the School of Sports Management presented by North Carolina State University.
Coach Krista has dedicated over 17 years full time in the profession of Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources. She has served as District Coordinator, Chapter Director and Certified Clinician for the National Youth Sports Coaches Association. She was awarded the Outstanding Young Professional Award by the State of North Carolina Athletic Director's Association. She has held many certifications in the past as a Athletic Trainer, Strength & Conditioning Coach & Personal Fitness Trainer. She has spent the past 5 years of her career dedicating her time as a Youth Volleyball Coach with the Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association and providing clinics and private volleyball instruction to athletes wanting to succeed in the sport.
Romel Lightbourn, Assistant Director/Staff Since 2020
• 2nd Place - Jr. Men's Caribbean Volleyball Championship 2001 (Suriname)
• 3rd Place - Senior Men's Caribbean Volleyball Championship 2004 (Barbados)
• 3rd Place - Senior Men's Caribbean Volleyball Championship 2010 (Suriname)
• 2nd Place - 1st round of World Championship Qualifier 2010 (Jamaica)
• 3rd Place - 2nd round of World Championship Qualifier 2010 (Cuba)
• 1st Place - Senior Men's Caribbean Volleyball Championship 2012 ( US Virgin Islands)
• 7th Place - Norceca Men's Continental Championship 2013 (Canada)
• 1st Place - 1st round of World Championship Qualifier 2014 (Curacao)
Samantha Barker, Staff Since 2021
Coach Sam grew up in Southern California where she began playing competitive indoor volleyball at 10 years old before she moved to Wilmington, NC and continued playing as a libero and defensive specialist at Cape Fear Volleyball Club and Hoggard High School’s JV and varsity teams. Since then, Sam continued playing beach and indoor volleyball recreationally throughout college. With over 12 years of playing experience, she is really excited to start her coaching career at Academy. She recently received her Master’s degree from East Carolina University and just moved to the Chapel Hill/Durham area to work full time as a research specialist at UNC. Coach Sam excited to settle down in the triangle area and continue pursuing her love for volleyball.
Andi Bentley, Staff Since 2017
Coach Andi joins Academy with more than 10 years of collegiate and club experience. Since 2006, she coached at Triangle volleyball club, where she coached top teams in 12s, 14s, 15s, 16s, and 17s age groups, with numerous Region Championships and top half finishes at Nationals. Coach Andi also coached Division I at Dartmouth College, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Central University. She played libero at North Carolina State University in 2004-2008. She consistently led the ACC in digs and remains ninth all-time in career digs. During her high school career at Cardinal Gibbons, she led her team to three consecutive state championships, setting school records in single-match digs, single-season digs, career digs, and career aces. The two-time all conference player and team captain also received TISAC Player of the Year honors in 2003. Coach Andi and Triangle 18 Kaepa were undefeated in North Carolina and the first North Carolina team to finish in the top 10 at a national championship event.
Brittini Bryant, Staff Since 2020
Coach Brittini brings over 13 years of volleyball coaching experience to Academy. She has coached two varsity and junior varsity teams, Southern Durham High (2013-2014) School and Wake Forest High School (2018). Brittini also brings experience as a former Club Director, FCVC (2012-2016) and tournament host for Carolina Region. Brittini brings 4 years of officiating experience as well, where she traveled as an independent contractor for AAU’s in Florida, USAV Carolina Region tournaments in North Carolina and USAV National Qualifier tournaments in DC and Philadelphia. Brittini has extensive experience working with youth teams and camps at the local and national level, which led to her being selected as an Assistant Coach for the 2017 and 2018 USA HP Girls A2 camps in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brittini traveled to Italy (2010) to play and study abroad for a chance to expand her college education and knowledge of the game with other national players.
Brittini's education background encompass a Masters in Kinesiology (Barton College, 2021) with a concentration in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelors in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (Virginia State University, 2012) with a minor in Sport Management. As a result, she owns her own gym (Britt FIt) where she is a personal trainer helping clients focus on mobility, kinesthetics, overall health and nutrition.
Brittini played collegiate volleyball and softball at Virginia State University and served as team captain three of the four years she participated. Brittini was named “MVP” and “best defensive player” her senior year in volleyball and interned with the former NBA Charlotte Bobcats (2012) simultaneously.
Brittini is married to Avery Bryant and they welcomed two beautiful daughters, Ava (5) and Aubri (newborn).
Angela Buchholz, Staff Since 2017
Coach Angie is from Angier, NC and began her volleyball career as an outside hitter for her high school earning all conference selections academic all conference and MVP player. She was a 2 sport college athlete at Methodist University transitioning to a middle hitter/blocker and was selected all conference and MVP as well. She began coaching in 1995 in Virginia Beach VA with 13-15 year old girls in the Princess Ann volleyball league. After moving back to North Carolina to Apex she began working with girls from ages 8 to 16 with the Recreation League and club teams. She is thrilled to begin working with girls here at Academy.
Katie Bueter, Staff Since 2022
Coach Katie grew up in New Bern, NC where she learned to play volleyball from her parents who were avid beach players. She played for New Bern High School all 4 years and also played for a local club named Twin Rivers Volleyball Club as a DS/Libero. She began coaching rec volleyball in high school and when she graduated in 2017, she began coaching club ball while attending East Carolina University. Coach Katie obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology with a concentration in Medicine and now work for Ascend Life & Body a premiere health club in North Raleigh. She have been coaching club volleyball for 5 years and look forward to bringing what she has learned developing new relationships doing what she loves here at NC Academy.
Brian Bushelow, Staff Since 2018
Coach Brian grew up in West Chester, PA where he began playing volleyball as a Freshman in high school. He then continued to play volleyball at the club level while attending ECU. Since graduating from college, Brian has continued to play in adult leagues around the triangle. Brian started coaching in 2016 and has been with Academy since 2018. He has served as a Head Coach for both National and Regional Teams.
Rebekah Bushelow, Staff Since 2018
Coach Rebekah played club volleyball in high school and continued playing through pickup in college and post college. She began coaching club in 2016 and has been with Academy since 2018 as an assistant for both National and Regional teams.
Bruce Cao, Staff Since 2009
Coach Bruce attended the University of Maryland from 1992-1996, where he played as the right-side hitter for the UMD men’s volleyball team. He started his volleyball journey at Quince Orchard High School (Maryland), he played three years in the varsity squad and was named MVP and All-Conference team in his junior and senior year. After college, he played in the USAV league for many years and was named MVP and All-Conference Team for the Chesapeake Region in 2000. Bruce moved to North Carolina in 2006 and continued to pursuit his love of volleyball by playing in the city men’s and coed leagues and coaching for city (Cary), club volleyball (NC Academy), and school (Thales Academy) teams and private skills coaching. At home, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. Professionally, he works as a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry.
Lillian Carlson, Staff Since 2021
Coach Lillian started playing club volleyball in St. Louis, Missouri at age 13, and played for Rockwood Thunder volleyball club. She was a three year varsity 6-rotation outside hitter for Mehlville High School in St. Louis and was Captain her senior year. She Played two years as a OH/OPP hitter at College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, GA. Her first tournament as a college freshman she made the All-Tournament team at the Early Bird Invitational at Loyola New Orleans. Coach Lillian is the third Carlson sister to be a part of Academy. Her younger sisters Sophie and Evie played for 16 Diamond and 14 Diamond during the 2020-21 season.
Eduardo Castillo, Staff Since 2012
Coach Eduardo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and started his volleyball career at the age of 12. He began playing in middle school and continued on playing JV & Varsity volleyball for one of the top ranked high schools in Puerto Rico. During the school off season, Coach Eduardo dedicated his time to play volleyball at the national/open level, for one of the best clubs in Puerto Rico in the mid-late 90’s. After graduating from high school, he moved to Arizona and started attending Arizona State University pursuing a B.S. Industrial Engineering degree. During his college years, Coach Eduardo played intramural volleyball at the school and various indoor and outdoor tournaments. He was relocated to Cary NC inn 2007 and started playing volleyball again, participating in open gyms, rec-leagues and eventually joining a bronze & silver level USAV team in the Carolina region. In 2012, he joined the Athens Drive High School as Volleyball Varsity Assistant Coach, to make this his 1st volleyball coaching experience for girls at a high school level. He joined Academy becoming the head coach for a 16 Crystal team in 2012. Coach Eduardo is looking forward to continue developing his coaching skills as well as sharing his passion for volleyball with the young upcoming players in the Carolina Region.
Joe Chen, Staff Since 2009
Coach Joe attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he played as a setter and left side hitter for the RPI men's club team as well as in various Asian volleyball tournaments played at universities in the New England area (NYC, Toronto, Cornell, U Penn, Boston University, etc.). He started volleyball as a freshman in Brighton High School (Rochester, NY) where he played in JV followed by Varsity in his sophomore, junior and senior year, where he was the team captain in his senior year. After college he played in the USAV league, various Cary leagues and sand volleyball. He has been with NC Academy since 2009 and a coach for various NC Volleyball Academy teams, most recently 16 Jade in the 2021-2022 season. He has also the head coach for Cary Academy's JV team.
Tammy Choboy, Staff Since 2011
Coach Tammy grew up in Durham, NC where she led Jordan High School to 3 consecutive 4A State Championships as a middle blocker. She played volleyball at Appalachian State University for 4 years and won numerous All-Conference and All Tournament accolades including Team MVP. After college, Tammy played many years of USAV, outdoor sand and grass tournaments up and down the east coast.
Tammy has been coaching volleyball for over 20 years at the Club and Collegiate level. In the Triangle area, she has coached for CCVC, TCA and now at the Academy. Tammy’s passion is teaching the fundamentals of volleyball and instilling a love for the game.
Melissa Cornett, Staff Since 2018
Coach Cornett is happy to be back in her home state of North Carolina and brings with her a lifelong love of the game. A graduate of Campbell University, where she played middle blocker for the Fighting Camels, she has utilized her coaching skills, passion and competitive spirit in four states – Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and, of course, North Carolina – while serving in assistant and head coaching roles. Cornett has a talent for working with all ages in both public and private school as well as club settings, instilling a love for volleyball in athletes as young as pre-school and kindergarten and helping to hone strong skills in those at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Highlights include; three years as head coach at Bartlett Yancey High School(Yanceyville, N.C.) where her team went from last in conference play to first; 2 years as head coach of 16s and 17s Regional teams at Union Volleyball Club(New Albany, Indiana) where her teams won Gold and Bronze and head coach at Leesville Road Middle School(Raleigh) where her Lady Lions were undefeated. Coach Cornett has assisted multiple athletes under her tutelage to achieve the goal of playing volleyball at the collegiate level. With nearly two decades of coaching experience, she has passed on her love of volleyball in a very personal way to the next generation of players; daughter Megan, both are excited about both their fifth season here at Academy.their first season here at Academy.
Pamela Criswell, Staff Since 2019
As a player and coach, Coach Pamela has 40+ years of volleyball experience. This includes Juniors, High School, Junior College, and Division I programs. Currently, she is the Head JV and Assistant Varsity Coach at Falls Lake Academy in Creedmoor, NC. She began her volleyball career in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 13. It was love at first “set”. Her player career includes high school, college, and adult USAV. Coach Pamela is passionate about the sport of volleyball and works hard to pass that on to the young players she has the privilege to coach. One of her most proud volleyball moments is her participation in the 1996 Olympics as a volleyball statistician. This included working the Gold Medal Men’s match and the Bronze Medal Women’s match. She is the proud mother of two and grandmother of four. She has been a special educator for 19 years and is now an Assistant Principal at a elementary school in Granville County where she also resides. Coach Pamela is looking forward to and super excited about working with the young players at Academy!
Tkeyah Davis, Staff Since 2019
Coach Tkeyah graduated from South Granville high school where she played Varsity for 3 years as an outside/right side hitter. Her senior year she helped her team enter its first ever year playing in the state championship. Coach Tkeyah continued her volleyball career as a DS and played all four years at North Carolina A&T received a bachelors in Psychology. While competing at A&T i received numerous NC A&T volleyball awards. She currently work at Labcorp. She has been playing volleyball since she was 13, I specialize in outside hitter and DS. This will be her first official club team and she is very excited for her first season as a coach.
Keisha Demps, Staff Since 2019
Keisha J. Demps is a long time advocate for volleyball. She has had an extensive coaching and playing career and brings over 20+ years of experience. Demps played both volleyball and basketball for the University of Arizona Wildcats, earning All-Pac-10 honors in volleyball while also being selected to the US National team in 1998. She played professional volleyball for two years in Murcia, Spain and the inaugural USPV “Dream Team” where she helped the U.S. win the 2000 Millennium Cup during international competition.
Demps retired from her playing career and began coaching collegiately at University of Nevada-Reno, Boise State & NC State where she trained over 10 all conference players. Demps later returned to the professional ranks and coached in the USPV with the St. Louis Quest in its opening season. In 2007 Keisha was named as one of the coaches with USA Volleyball High Performance programs and continues to serve as an evaluator for the past 11 years. Keisha lives in Raleigh with husband Thomas, daughter Jade (19) and son Thomas IV (14).
Jeff Feuerhelm, Staff Since 2013
Coach Jeff began coaching in 1990 as one of the founders of the Fairfax Juniors volleyball club where he coached both 18’s and 16’s. His 16’s team participated in the inaugural multi-region Atlantic Rim Power League. In 1998, he pioneered the Youth Volleyball Program at the Cary Family YMCA. In 12 years he grew this program from individual volleyball skills clinics into both an Elementary and a Middle School League emphasizing skill development. He joined CCVC in 2007 as a coach and rose to be co-director. In addition to teaching volleyball skills to his team, his responsibilities included season planning, recruiting coaches, coordinating skill clinics and strength, agility and quickness sessions, budget preparation and working with the CCVC Board. Assisted in merger between CCVC and TCA. Most recently he coached at Club Red.
Coach Jeff has achieved both USAV Cap I and CAP II certification.
Casey Fields, Staff Since 2013
Coach Casey Fields (formerly Salchert) is a 2015 graduate of North Carolina State University which she attended to receive her degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. In the fall of 2011 Salchert was the starting setter and captain for Cape Fear Community College. In high school, she played 3 years at Cardinal Gibbons and five years of club at both Triangle (06-09) and Club Red (09-11). In 2013 she began her coaching career at Immaculata Catholic School where she served as the head coach. Casey then spent 3 years as the head coach at Research Triangle High School (14-16).
Coach Casey has been at the helm of 14 Diamond for the past 4 seasons. In 2019 her 14 Diamond team became the first 14's team in Academy history to qualify for USAV Nationals. Placing 3rd at the Sunshine Qualifier in USA and narrowly missing the Open bid when finishing 3rd at Big South. Along with 17 Diamond in 2021, these are the highest placing Open finishes in club history. At Nationals they went on to finish 3rd overall in the USA division, again becoming the first team in Academy history to secure a Top 3 finish at USAV Nationals. Coach Casey married Coach Ross Fields the summer of 2019 and they currently reside in Durham. During the day she works as a Supervisor for Biogen. She is excited to be returning for her 9th season with Academy.
Ross Fields, Staff Since 2015
Coach Ross began his volleyball career in Indiana and continued during his time at Purdue University. He first began his coaching career in Indiana and then moved to France to teach and coach. He then joined Academy in 2015 and began coaching at Knightdale HS where he led the team to a top 3 finish and a berth in the 4A playoffs. After one year at Knightdale, he moved to Chapel Hill HS where he has returned the program to its premier place in the 3A class. During his tenure, the Program has won the 2019 3A State Championship; they were runners-up in 2016 and 2017 while also finishing 3rd in 2018. He has helped over 20 student-athletes to pursue their dreams of playing collegiate volleyball from Division I to NAIA levels. While he has worked with all levels of players, his greatest successes at the club level have been coaching 13 Diamond to the highest finish ever for an Academy team at AAU (3rd place in 13 Premier 2017) and assisting 14 Diamond to a 3rd place finish in 14 USA at USAV Nationals in 2019.
Asia Greenhill, Staff Since 2022
From Holly Springs, NC. Coach Asia played at Holly Springs High School and was a varsity starter as a setter, lettering her last two years and Academic All-Conference. She played for various club teams in North Carolina, ending her club career at NC Elite. She began her volleyball coaching career with Magnum Volleyball club during the 2018 season, where she was the Assistant Coach for the 14 Champion Team. During the 2019 season, she was the Assistant Coach for the 17 champion team. Most recently, she went to the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2021 with a degree in Nursing. She currently works at WakeMed Raleigh.
Greg Havenstein, Staff Since 2017
Coach Greg has been playing and coaching volleyball for more than 30 years. He began his career playing competitively in high school in Ohio and continued playing club while in college. Coach Greg has been coaching for several years and currently is the head coach at Thales middle school and coaching two rec teams as well. Coach Greg still plays several times a week when he is not coaching. He is very passionate about coaching and enjoys developing kids into better players while having fun.
Paul Hobbs, Staff Since 2021
Coach Paul discovered his love for volleyball while playing during high school. He reconnected his love for volleyball when he started coaching at the middle school level for Southside Christian School. He then moved on to coach at the JV and Varsity level at the same school. In 2020, Coach Paul was hired at CFCA as their Head Volleyball Coach. He has coached at the club level for 2 years at Joco Volleyball Club. Most recently, he lead his 13 Black team to medaling in 7 out of 8 tournaments during the 2020/21 season. When he is not coaching, he owns a successful landscaping business and enjoys playing volleyball with his daughter. He is most excited about continuing his coaching career at Academy, while instilling the love of the sport among young athletes.
Erik Hofheinz, Staff Since 2018
Coach Erik Hofheinz has been the head coach at Jordan HS since 2005 and has been coaching for close to 30 years. Before joining Academy he coached with DOVE and Cape Fear VBC. He was on the James Madison University men's club team for three years and continued after college playing USAV. Many of his summers were spent playing in two man tournaments in Virginia and one summer overseas in Australia and New Zealand.
Lorraine Hudak, Staff Since 2010
For 11 years coach Lorraine has coached all ages at CCVC and was their lead coach in their Special Position Academy Clinics. She focused on teaching the basics and fundamentals which contributed to a successful development program at CCVC. She worked the last 17 seasons with the Green Hope High School JV volleyball program as the Head Coach of a young Falcons squad. Retiring 2021 with a record win 298 wins and 28 losses. She also assisted the Green Hope High School Varsity squad with an unprecedented performance by the Falcons again this pass season.
Coach Lorraine has over 40 years of coaching experience with 11 years as a College Coach at Bryant College D-II for Women and Men. She spent 7 years as a Physical Education teacher and Volleyball Coach at Warren High School. During her career at Bryant College, Coach Hudak was named to the Hall of Fame as the Pioneer of Women’s Sports and Most Successful Volleyball Coach in the history of the college. She has coached nationally ranked teams, named the Bryant College coach of the year, winner of the New England Conference Championship, and a State Playoff Contender.
Tahira Hyman, Staff Since 2022
Tahira “Abi” Hyman is an East Carolina native who was introduced to volleyball at age five. She graduated from Wake Technical Community College in 2020 with her associate in arts. In 2022, she graduated from North Carolina Central University with a Bachelor of Science, concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics. Coach Tahira is currently completing her internship and master's degree to become a registered dietitian by the end of 2023. Tahira played volleyball throughout her middle and high school career. Her college volleyball career began at Wake Tech. She played fall volleyball and beach volleyball. During her beach volleyball season, she led her team to the final round leading 25-20. At Wake Technical Community College, she played as an outside/DS. Before coming to NC Academy Volleyball Club, she was an assistant coach at Premier Volleyball Club for the 15U team and Fuquay Revolution Volleyball Club (14U). During her time at Fuquay Revolution Volleyball Club, she led her 14s team to a championship and multiple final playoff games. Tahira loves teaching other girls the real meaning behind volleyball and helping young women find their purpose in the play of volleyball.
Hannah Jablonski, Staff Since 2021
Coach Jo is studying History while obtaining a 9-12 teaching licensure at Meredith College where she plays on the volleyball team as a Libero. She began playing volleyball at 9 years old and continued to play throughout middle school and high school. During her high school career, Hannah Jo played club ball for NC Elite and NC Volleyball Academy, and high school ball at Middle Creek High School. She has worked at the Kraft Family YMCA as a Youth Coach/Referee of the youth volleyball program for 4 years and was promoted in 2020 to Volleyball Coordinator at the Taylor, NW Cary, and Kraft locations. She has also assisted the premier season for the Valor Volleyball club team and took them to Orlando for AAU Nationals in 2020. Coach Jo looks forward to joining the NC Academy coaching staff and family.
Joe Kolousek, Staff Since 2018
Coach Joe is a 2014 graduate of NC State University with a degree in Middle School Language Arts and Social Science Education. He played club volleyball while at NC State from 2011-2014, co-captaining the team his senior year. He continues to play volleyball year-round, mostly indoor and grass, in local leagues and local and regional tournaments. Coach Joe is passionate about the sport and enjoys working with upcoming players to help them always be working to improve and better themselves.
Erica Lenzen, Staff Since 2018
Coach Erica grew up in Kernersville, NC, where she played volleyball competitively for Set Point Volleyball Club for 5 years. She first started coaching youth volleyball camps at her local YMCA while she was still in high school. Erica is a 2017 graduate of NC State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. While at NC State, she continued playing intramural volleyball for fun. After graduating college, Erica began her first season coaching at Academy. As a coach, Erica believes the best way for players to improve is by mastering the fundamentals, setting individual and team goals, and pushing players to reach those goals in a positive environment. Outside of volleyball, Erica has a career in medical device product development and enjoys fostering dogs, NC State sports, and spending weekends at the beach.
Kaylee Lopez, Staff Since 2021
Coach Kaylee is a 2020 graduate of UNC Charlotte, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science. She is originally from Puerto Rico but grew up in Raeford, NC. Kaylee played as a DS/L at Sandhills Community College from 2015-2017, which led to her first coaching experience at Pinecrest High School and AC Sandhills Volleyball Club. In 2018, Kaylee moved to Charlotte to pursue her degree and joined Carolina Juniors Volleyball Club. While at CJV, Kaylee coached multiple local program teams and was the head coach for the U16 Semi-National team in 2019-20 at Carolina Juniors Volleyball Club. Due to COVID, Coach Kaylee made a decision to move back to the Southern Pines/Aberdeen area to work as a Respiratory Therapist. Last season, Kaylee coached the U13 team at AC Sandhills Volleyball Club.
Coach Kaylee is super excited to bring her experience and enthusiasm to NC Academy!
Elena Mast, Staff Since 2019
Coach Elena graduated from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. She currently works for Biogen as an Engineer I in the Manufacturing Sciences department. She has played indoor volleyball since she was 11 as a libero and setter. In her years as a club player, she played for Academy from 15 year to 18 year age group. During college, she played on the Charlotte Club team as well as many intermural leagues. This is her first time coaching volleyball and is very excited to starting her first season coaching with Academy!
Amy Melillo, Staff Since 2014
This will be Coach Amy's 10th year coaching volleyball and her 6th year here at NC Academy -- in the past she has worked with a variety of our teams including 2 Diamond teams, as well as Jade, Pearl & Onyx . She is currently teaching Business and Computers at Mills Park middle school, along with being the Assistant Varsity Coach at Green Hope High School. Coach Amy is a graduate of East Carolina University where she earned her Masters Degree in Business Information & Technology Education. She played volleyball 4 years in high school and went on to play for 2 years at the collegiate level before switching over to swim for the next 2 years.
Betsy Mercer, Staff Since 2021
Coach Betsy is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with a degree in Human Growth and Family Studies. Betsy played volleyball at the Junior College level for two years in Syracuse, NY. Betsy has continued to play volleyball both indoors and out over the past 30 years. Betsy coached at CCVC for six years, until her children's sporting interests took over her spare time and weekends. Betsy is excited to come back to the coaching world with Academy Volleyball Club after an extended family leave.
Olivia Metcalf, Staff Since 2020
Coach Olivia previously played for CCVC, TCA, and Academy as an outside hitter, Libero and DS. She has fourteen years of volleyball experience so far and has been coaching for 6 years. She has previously coached club ball at ECJVC while studying Middles Grades Education at East Carolina University. While at East Carolina, Coach Olivia participated in volleyball intramurals. She has recently coached as an assistant at Margaret B. Pollard Middle School. Coach Olivia is also the JV Coach at Northwood High School. She began her coaching career coaching summer youth volleyball camps at her local YMCA. She is an 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Margaret B. Pollard Middle School. She is excited to be back at Academy as a coach and thrilled about the opportunity to show young players how enjoyable the sport of volleyball can be!
Gregory Moss, Staff Since 2012
Coach Moss graduated from Moorhead State University in Minnesota where he ran track and was All Conference. Founder of Champions Quest sports academy in Southern California, Coach Moss is a certified sports trainer and an experienced mental training coach. During his time associated with the Los Alamitos (CA) high school volleyball team, Coach Moss’ skills and mental coaching helped the team earn three Region and State titles. As the mental training coach for TCA (CA) club team, Coach Moss helped them achieve both USAV Open 17's and Open 18’s Championship titles. Greg trained many top Southern California junior volleyball players, including his daughter Rachael, D1 high school Player of the Year and Duke University 2006-2010 All American. Coach Moss has worked with several volleyball clubs including Triangle, TCA, Mizuno Long Beach and Quest. In addition to providing focused individual training, he runs weekly Top Gun volleyball skills clinics. Coach Moss has authored a mental performance training program, Footsteps Of A Champion, which includes “10 Ways To Develop A Winning Mindset” and “Words That Inspire”. He brings a vast amount of knowledge to help prepare our players at Academy work through challenges and build a champion’s mindset. Coach Moss will also serve as assistant coach, and run our APT as well as volleyball private/group lessons.
Tacara Moxey, Staff Since 2019
Coach Tacara has over 20 years of volleyball experience as a player, coach and official. She's a graduate of Saint Augustine's University with a degree in Computer Science. During her tenure in college she helped lead her team to four straight CIAA championships and in 2002 her team made history, becoming the first HBCU to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II championships. Coach Tacara is a native of The Bahamas and former member of The Bahamas Junior National Volleyball team, in which she held the role of captain. She was a volunteer assistant coach at Saint Augustine's University from 2003 - 2018 and is currently the Assistant Varsity Volleyball Coach at Saint David's.
Nadiya Omarova, Staff Since 2011
Coach Nadiya has a passion for seeing young women succeed in sports. Volleyball, being a team sport, teaches many lessons that can also be used off the court. Coach Nadiya brings her experience and passion for the sport in her “work hard, play smart, and never give up” attitude.
Coach Nadiya started playing volleyball at the age of 12 and quickly rose to become a primary player for the former U.S.S.R Republic of Kazakhstan’s Junior National Team by age 15. During this time of competitive play, she held several positions and was the winner of international, national, and regional tournaments and championships. Coach Nadiya later played volleyball for the Kazakhstan Women's National Volleyball Team and was the team captain for the National Technical University of Kazakhstan Women's Volleyball Team.
After graduating with a Master’s degree in Electromechanical Engineering, Coach Nadiya played on the Institute of Physical Education & Sports of Kazakhstan Women’s Team. At the same time, she coached school teams and was the assistant coach of college teams in Kazakhstan. Her love of playing volleyball continues, and she currently plays in the USAV Carolina Region league and competes in various indoor and outdoor tournaments in the Piedmont-Triangle area.
Rachel Pence, Staff Since 2022
Rachel’s love for the game of volleyball began after attending a summer camp before fifth grade. She then played for both her middle school and high school teams as well as for a club team out of Tampa, Florida. After taking a step back from playing in 2011, she began coaching at the YMCA where she was able to help teach and improve both beginners and experienced players from the ages of 7 to 15 and show them her love of the game. This experience blossomed into coaching a club team for the last 4 years before her recent move to North Carolina. Rachel graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Elementary Education and moved to North Carolina for a teaching position. She is excited to bring her years of experience and passion to NC Academy!
Izzy Piedmonte, Staff Since 2017
Coach Izzy grew up in Charlotte, NC where she began playing volleyball at the age of 12. She has been coaching at a competitive level for about 4 years. Izzy went to East Carolina University for undergrad where she played intramurals and won 3 championships. During this time she started coaching at Costal Plains Volleyball club and then East Carolina Junior Volleyball Club. During her free time she plays sand volleyball. Izzy completed her MBA last year from ECU and currently works for the Durham Bulls Baseball Club.
Spencer Reynolds, Staff Since 2013
Coach Spencer will be entering his 9th season coaching club volleyball at NC Academy, and has been coaching for 17 years. He is no stranger to volleyball as he has collegiate coaching experience as well as having worked with in the past with Club Red, Challengers & CCVC. Spencer was CAP I certified in 2009 and has coached the Carolina Region Select team in the High Performance Championships in 2008 - 2010. Spencer also served as Volunteer Assistant Coach for NCSU under coach Rita Stubbs for 3 years from 2005-2008. Spencer also played and served as president for the NC State Men's Club Team.
Layla Richani, Staff Since 2022
Coach Layla grew up right here in Durham, NC where she began playing volleyball at age 11. She continued to play for various clubs as a Libro/DS, including NC Academy, around the triangle until she left for Appalachian State University to play on their club team for 2 more years. Since then, Layla graduated with a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and is a certified Health & Wellness coach who is passionate about helping others reach their true potential both in volleyball and their overall wellness. As a junior in College, Layla coached girls club volleyball team at another club. This will now be Layla’s first time coaching at Academy!
Josie Richardson, Staff Since 2015
Coach Josie Richardson is a sophomore in college at William Peace University. She is a Criminal Justice major and is planning on getting her masters in criminology after she graduates. She played two years on JV at Farmville Central High School and then two years on varsity there as well. Josie received the hustle award her sophomore and senior year of high school, Josie also ran winter and spring track until her sophomore year. She started playing volleyball at the age of eight with recreational league then moved on to club at 14. She played for Coastal Plains Volleyball Club until she graduated and tried out for WPU team.
Corrinna Sammons, Staff Since 2018
Coach Corrinna has 20 years of volleyball experience between playing and coaching. She played D3 at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia and has continued to play in competitive adult leagues both indoor, grass and sand. After taking a break to have a family, she returned to coaching volleyball in Granville County where she resides with her family. She is currently the head coach at Falls Lake Academy where she has taken a brand new school program and developed it into a very competitive program built on strong fundamentals and increasing each players’ volleyball IQ. Coach Corrinna started her 5th year with the program this past season. The high school joined the NCHSAA 3 years ago. Since joining, She taken the team post season each year. In 2017 they made the final four in 1A and East Regional Runner up. This year she lead her varsity team to a conference championship, Regional Championship and finished with taking the 1A State Championship. She previously coached at Jammers for 4 club seasons with ages 12-16, and had some of the top teams in the club. In 2017, she started Power Performance Volleyball Club, based out of Granville County. She took a 17s team on a semi-national schedule and finished in the top third in our region. She is very excited to be joining Academy and looking forward to a great season.
Jill Shanahan, Staff Since 2019
Coach Jill graduated from Clarkson University where she played collegiate volleyball and earned her BS in Mathematics. After college, she played Carolina Region USAV, sand and grass tournaments and coached USAV with CCVC for 3 seasons until focusing on her family. Coach Jill started coaching again when her daughter became interested in Volleyball, coaching various recreational leagues. She was the head coach for Carnage Magnet Middle School from 2015 – 2019, winning 2 Conference Titles. She has also been the Coordinator of the Kraft YMCA Volleyball program since 2015. Jill coached 3 club seasons with NC Elite, coaching 13’s and 14s and is looking forward to being the JVA Volleyball Coach at Middle Creek High School this fall. She enjoys spending time with her family, being involved with the community and sharing her love of the game.
Tania Stafford, Staff Since 2011
Coach Tania relocated with her family to NC from upstate NY in 2000. Her previous experiences include beach volleyball in the NOVA circuit, she served as a middle hitter as well as a setter in college at Monroe. She worked as a referee and in club management and marketing. Since she has been in NY she has continued to play beach volleyball as an adult in local leagues. Coach Tania ran Western Wake Volleyball Club in Cary for 13 years. Other club coaching after Western Wake include 4 years at Triangle Volleyball club coaching ages 14-16 National. This will be her 2nd year with us at Academy as the 18 Diamond coach, prior in 2011. She has also served as Head Coach at local schools throughout the years including Durham Academy, Raleigh Charter, Southern Wake Academy and currently at Northwood High School. College coaching experience includes Wake Tech. Tania lives in Apex, NC and lives with her husband and has 2 boys. She is a photographer, teaches horseback riding and is the founder and CEO of a non-profit organization for animal rescue called "Help em' Furget". Tania is excited to rejoin the Academy team and looks forward to working with our athletes.
Daphne Stam, Staff Since 2013
Growing girls in sport and in life. Learning something every day." As a volleyball player of many years and mom of two, Coach Daphne loves introducing younger players to volleyball, and loves watching them grow in the game even more! She started coaching Morrisville and Apex youth rec teams as a parent volunteer in the spring of 2013, and joined the Academy staff that fall. She and Coach Li have coached 12 Diamond teams to Carolina Region East 12s Finals in 2015 and 2016, and Carolina Region 12s State Championships in 2017, 2018, and 2019; along with gold or silver finishes at Monument City Classic (2016 - 2018) and City of Oaks (2019). Coach Daphne has also coached high school volleyball, first at Durham Academy (2014 and 2015); and then at Chapel Hill High School (2016 - 2022) with fellow Academy coach Ross Fields. "The Program" has made three NCHSAA State Final appearances in four years, winning the 3A State Championship in 2019. 2022-23 will be her tenth season coaching at Academy, her third as 13 Diamond head coach, her seventh with Chapel Hill HS, and her second as head coach at Duke School Middle School.
Dan Thomas, Staff Since 2017
Coach Dan played with the Wake County Volleyball Club (Carolina Region) throughout the 1990's. He also played grass doubles, triples, and quads throughout the 1990's and played Raleigh and Cary leagues (men's and co-ed) from early 1990's until 2013 and began playing again in 2016 with an adult team in Raleigh. Coach Dan coached a women's team in a Raleigh city league in the early 1990's. He coached for Capital City Volleyball Club (Carolina Region) from 2001 to 2005. He was an assistant coach for 2 years for 15's, served as a head coach for 1 year for 14's, and 1 year assisting with 11 year old development players.
Amy Jane Townsend, Staff Since 2022
AJ is entering her first year coaching at Academy after spending the last 8 years playing club at the national team level. She helped guide her 14 Crystal team to a 9-0 record and a gold championship at Capital Hill Classic. She also helped her 17 Jade team to a 5-2 record while going for a National bid at the Sunshine Volleyball Classic. AJ is starting her freshman season at William Peace University in the fall as a setter/right side and will be studying Psychology. Outside of volleyball, she likes to spend time with her dogs, Spike & Bogue.
Shira Wells, Staff Since 2017
Coach Shira is currently a sophomore at Wake Tech Community College. She recently completed a successful freshman season as a setter/defensive specialist for Wake Tech. After being introduced to the sport in the summer as a freshmen in high school. Shira invested a great deal of time and effort into developing as a player. During her high school career, she played club for Club Red and NC Elite. Shira previously coach at Jammers Volleyball Club for two successful seasons. During the summer, Shira is an avid beach doubles and a grass player. Coach Shira is excited to join the coaching staff at Academy.
Serita Wilson, Staff Since 2021
Coach Serita has been involved in the sports of volleyball for over 30 years. She is a former member of the Jamaican National Womens Team for over 9 years as an Outside Hitter.. She played collegiate volleyball at St Augustine’s University 1999-2003 and was a member of their 3 peat Championship team as well as the first Division II team from the CiAA get an automatic bid to the NCAA..She also coached at my Alma mater 7 years as an Assistant and 4 years as Head Coach..Coach Serita has one daughter 17 years old her name is Mya. In her spare time besides attending church, she loves to cook.
Anne Yount, Staff Since 2009
Coach Anne graduated from UNC Charlotte where she played collegiate volleyball and softball. After college, she played Carolina Region USAV, sand and grass tournaments and local recreational leagues. Coach Anne was the head coach for Carnage Magnet Middle School from 2009 – 2011 and has coached various youth recreational leagues. She has coached the 13 Diamond team at NC Academy since 2009 and has led teams to multiple championships and state titles. During the 2018, she lead 13 Diamond to a 13th finished at USAV Nationals becoming only one of two coaches from Academy who has received a bid from a national tournament (Big South). She enjoys involving her teams in community service projects while teaching teamwork, sportsmanship and fundamentals of the game.
Tom Yount, Staff Since 2009
Coach Tom was Member/Player NC State Volleyball Club 1988/89. He played sand and grass doubles throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He also played for the Wake County Volleyball Club (Carolina Region) during the 1990’s. He earned medals in Men’s and Coed divisions at the NC State Games and Played in the City of Raleigh or Town of Cary Men’s and/or Coed leagues from 1988 through 2011.
Coach Tom’s coaching experiences include Coaching women’s club teams at Wake County Volleyball Club 1993 -1994 Fuquay Varina Athletic Association Coach 4 seasons Assistant Coach for Academy 12 Diamond, 13 Diamond and 13 Pearl teams in 2011; Head Coach 14 Pearl (Carolina Region Brass 2nd Place); 2012 Assistant Coach 14 Diamond and 13 Diamond. 2013 Assistant Coach 14 Crystal. 2014 Assistant and tournament coach 15 Diamond B, 2015 Head coach 15 Crystal. 2016 Head Coach 14 Ruby and 14 AAU, 2017 Assistant Coach 15 Pearl. Coach Tom is USAV Impact, CAP I, Beach Impact and Beach Cap 1 certified.
Paul Zhang, Staff Since 2021
Coach Paul played as a setter for a college club team throughout the 1990's when he was in China. After he moved to the United States, he began playing again in 2004 as a setter for different adult teams in Raleigh and Cary leagues (men's and co-ed) as well as in various volleyball tournaments. He helped his team to win multiple championships for the 2005 to 2010 Seasons. He switched to beach volleyball in 2010 and had won numerous regional tournaments (Men’s Doubles AA Division) between 2010 and 2020. He started his coaching career in 2016 and served as a head coach for NCYVL Club for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He joined the Academy in 2021 and coached 13 Crystal with Coach Nadia. He is very passionate about teaching the fundamentals of volleyball and enjoys developing young athletes into better players. Coach Paul’s love of playing volleyball never stops. When he is not coaching, he keeps playing volleyball, mostly sand, some indoor and grass all year round.