NC Elite Coaches, And Our Vision, Mission and Core Values
NC Elite Volleyball Club coaches are committed to the NC Elite Vision, Mission and Core Values. Through training, mentoring and committment to continuous improvement, NC Elite coaches develop the technical, leadership and communication skills necessary to lead their teams and individual players. Our coaches work diligently to demonstrate the NC Elite Core Values in their words and behaviors, and to instill the NC Elite Core Values in the words and behaviors in all NC Elite players.
Haley Bidgood, Coach & Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Avery Bowman, Coach & Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Brittini Bryant, Coach
Brittini brings over 10 years of volleyball coaching experience to NC Elite Volleyball Club. She has coached two varsity and junior varsity teams, one at Southern Durham High School and currently at Wake Forest High School. Brittini also brings experience as a former Club Director and tournament host for Carolina Region. She is excited to continue to expand her knowledge on the officiating side as well. She has traveled as an independent official 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. Most recently, Brittini coached the 2017 and 2018 USA HP Girls Youth Camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brittini also traveled to Italy in 2010, to play and study abroad for a chance to expand her college education and knowledge of the game with other national players.
In her full time profession, Brittini is pursuing her own business in Sport Management, in hopes to create an avenue for youth of all ages through sports, while she is heavily involved with amateur sports daily.
Brittani is a Virginia State University Alumnus where she received her bachelor’s degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, with a minor in Sport Management in 2012. 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 managed to receive the honor of being a Grassroots Marketing Intern with the former NBA Charlotte Bobcats while completing her senior year in 2012.
Brittini is married and welcomed a baby girl to her family in November, 2016.
Kelly Chang, Coach
Kelly was born and raised in Honolulu, HI, where she was a three-year volleyball letterwinner at Hawaii Baptist Academy in Honolulu for coach Myles Shioji. Kelly earned team MVP honors her senior year in addition to garnering first-team all-state and all-league recognition. She helped guide Hawaii Baptist to back-to-back State and Interscholastic League of Hawaii titles. Kelly also played for Jammers Volleyball Club coached by Debbie Yee and Roland Tagaban, earning all-tournament honors at 17 Club Junior Olympics, where the squad placed second. Kelly went on to play at the University of Nevada where she was a four-year starter as Libero/Defensive Specialist. Kelly brings over 8 years of coaching experience, ranging from 12U to High School Varsity level to NC Elite.
Jessica Clayton, Coach, Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Dan Collins, Coach
Dan is a graduate of Emory & Henry College with a degree in Health & PE/Career & Technical Education/Health Promotion & Sports Performance and Leadership, and expects to graduate from NC State University with his Doctoral program in Leadership and Social Justice in 2019. He is currently a Graduate Assistant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences - NC 4-H Staff at NC State University. Dan has strong coaching experience, enjoys working with student athletes of all ages and has had much experience in leading and mentoring youth. He has coached middle and high schooll volleyball, as well as collegiate volleyball at Emory & Henry College (2001-2005 & 2012-2014) and at VA Intermont College (2006). He has coached club in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, and has run his own club for a combined 10 years of experience.
Paige Cox, Coach & Alumna
Paige has over 10 years of experience coaching volleyball. She has coached at NC Elite for the majority of her coaching experience, coaching both the Black and Cardinal (National Team) levels. After being introduced to volleyball in 3rd grade, Paige invested a great deal of time and effort into developing as a player. Paige was a three-time letter winner at Person High School and made three appearances in the State Championships, winning two titles. Paige played level club volleyball through her high school years. She has spent time as a setter and defensive specialist/libero. During her high school and college years she also spent time working with the youth of Person County at the recreation department where she continues to play. Paige attendended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and graduated in 2012 with a degree in Athletic Training. She currently teaches Health and PE at Person High School in Roxboro, NC.
Molly Crenshaw, Coach & Alumna
Molly grew up in Raleigh, NC and played at Broughton High School. She attended Davidson College where she was a member of the Davidson Varsity Volleyball Team, playing as a libero, where she holds the second highest all-time dig record. After graduating in 2013, she lived in Washington, DC, and coached with the Metro American Volleyball Club for the 2013-2014 club season. She coached the 16 Regional South team for one year, and was a volunteer coach for two additional years. She is excited to be back in the area that she grew up in to coach the sport she believes is the best team sport there is!
Gary DeJames, Founder, Executive Director, Master Coac...
Gary DeJames - Founder, Executive Director and Master Coach
Gary is Co-Founder of NC Elite Volleyball Club, and serves as Executive Director, Master Coach and Board Member. Gary has been involved in coaching club volleyball in the Carolina Region since 2001, during which time he coached his teams to 10 Carolina Region Championships victories and competed in 11 USAV National Championships. He has also coached at numerous high schools in NC including Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, Sanderson High School in Raleigh, Broughton High School in Raleigh and Cresset Christian Academy in Durham, and was named Cap-6 Conference Coach of the Year in 2003 (Sanderson High School) and Carolina Christian Conference Coach of the Year in 1998 (Cresset Christian Academy) . Before moving to the Carolinas, Gary coached boys’ high school and JO volleyball in Buffalo, New York. Gary has been playing volleyball for over 25 years and has won numerous outdoor and indoor events, including a 1st place finish at the 2005 USAV Men's Adult National Championships, where he was awarded All-Tournament Team honors. Gary is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo where he earned a BS in Health and Wellness, minor in Coaching, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (NASM -National Academy of Sports Medicine), and currently works for Milliken & Company as the National Field Sales Director for the Healthcare Division (LinkedIn).
Sandra Merkel DeJames, Founder, Executive Director, Master Coac...
Sandy Merkel DeJames - Founder, Executive Director and Master Coach
Sandy is Co-Founder of NC Elite Volleyball Club, and serves as Executive Director, Master Coach and Board Chair. She has been involved with club volleyball since 2000, and in the Raleigh area since 2003. While coaching, Sandy successfully led her teams to qualify for the USAV Junior Olympic National Championships in every season she coached, and won several Regional and Divisional Championships. In addition to her club volleyball coaching experience, Sandy has coached numerous collegiate camps throughout Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and coached junior high school volleyball in her hometown, Cincinnati OH. Sandy played high school volleyball for nationally recognized Cincinnati Seton as a setter and outside hitter, leading her team to several GGCL Conference, Regional and Ohio State Championships, while earning all-conference, all-region and all-state honors. Collegiately, Sandy was a 3 sport NCAA Division 1 scholarship athlete; a 4-year letter winner and three-time all-conference setter and MVP with the UNC Charlotte Women’s Varsity Volleyball Team, MVP of the Women’s Varsity Track Team (4 varsity letters), and starting midfielder for the 1995 Conference USA Championship UNC Charlotte Women’s Varsity Soccer Team (1 varsity letter). She completed her collegiate career holding career and single season school records in assists, digs and service aces, as well as a NCAA Division 1 national ranking of 14th in all-time career assists. Sandy holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Biology, and completed her Post-Doctoral training at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Sandy has held various executive and leadership positions in the applied biotechnology and life sciences industries primarily focused on strategy, innovation and technology development, has founded 3 companies, and is currently President and CEO of Harmonize Strategy Group, developing and driving corporate, innovation and investment strategy, and providing executive and leadership coaching and training LinkedIn. Sandy has also served on various boards and advisory committees, currently serving as Board Member and Governance Committee Chair for the Institute For Emerging Issues at NC State University, a preeminent think tank that brings together individuals and groups to pursue solutions to North Carolina's challenges and strengthen the future competitiveness of the State.
Ciara Devlin, Apprentice Coach
BIO COMING SOON!
John Dillinger, Master Coach, Board Member
John has over 25 years of volleyball experience both as a player and as a coach. John is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he played varsity volleyball for legendary coach Bob Bertucci. After West Point, John continued playing adult USA Volleyball and became involved in coaching various junior camps, clinics and teams with former coach Bob Bertucci. John started coaching club volleyball with NC Challengers, and continued his coaching with NC Elite Volleyball Club, beginning in the 2008 inagural season. John currently serves as NC Elite Master Coach, leveraging his 20+ years of experience in coaching to mentor and develop NC Elite coaches. He also remains engaged in coaching NC Elite camps, clinics and programs, and specializes in setter training. Professionally, John is CEO/President and Owner of Keystone Transport.
Jeff Dobert, Program Director, Coach
Jeff is from upstate New York where he played volleyball as an outside hitter in high school, and served as team captain. After high school, he shipped off to Parris Island, SC for Marine Corps boot camp. As a Marine, Jeff was selected to play for the All-Marine Volleyball team for 3 years as an outside hitter and defensive specialist. In 2004 and 2005, Jeff deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom III.”
Jeff has been coaching since 2003, starting as an assistant coach to the Makai Wahine out of Havelock, NC before moving to Raleigh where he has coached club volleyball since 2006, and with NC Elite Volleyball Club since 2010. Jeff is also currently the Head coach for Middle Creek High School volleyball program in Apex, NC. He has served as a Carolina Region High Performance Boys National Team coach for 2 consecutive seasons and has coached at the Division II & III collegiate level at Brevard College, Peace College, Central Carolina Community College and Wake Technical Community College. Jeff is an avid outdoor doubles grass player and has competed in the open/gold division among the region’s top competitors.
Jeff has degrees in Computer Integrated Machining(CNC), Welding Technologies and Computer Aided Drafting and Design. Jeff is currently working part time as a welder/fabricator and machinist in Olivia NC.
Grace Downen, Coach, Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Nelle Durkee, Coach
Nelle graduated from Pinecrest High School in 2008 where she played varsity volleyball for four years, was captain, and earned All-Conference and Player of the Year. During the off-season, Nelle played for local clubs before eventually playing for FAVA (Fayetteville Area Volleyball Association) for her final club season. Nelle continued playing volleyball competitively for NC State’s Club Volleyball team before transferring to Appalachian State where her club team won their division’s National Title. After finishing her Bachelor’s degree at Appalachian State, Nelle took a short break from volleyball while she earned her Master’s degree at UNC-Greensboro. Nelle continues to play volleyball in an indoor women’s league and in outdoor double’s tournaments. She is coach of the JV and Varsity team at the middle school where she is a speech-language pathologist. Nelle has had exposure to multiple styles of coaching and hopes to share her 15+ years of experience in playing the game with the young women of NC Elite.
Jordan Dye, Coach
Jordan graduated from Western Carolina University where she received a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology in 2017. She now works with the Autism Society of NC. She has been involved with volleyball for over 10 years as a player, captain, and coach. Jordan attended Jordan High School and played volleyball for all 4 years. In her senior year (2013), JHS became conference champions for the first time since 1995. While in HS Jordan also played club volleyball in the region. Jordan continued to play volleyball at Western Carolina by joining the club team, leading her team to regional champions her junior year. While in college, Jordan also had the opportunity to be an assistant coach at a small local high school in Cashiers, NC where she was able to use her volleyball knowledge to help players develop and become confident in their skills. She hopes to use her playing experiences and her past experience as a coach to continue to help foster growth and confidence in players through VolleyU!
Kali Emans, Coach
From Bluffton, Ohio, Kali is the JV volleyball coach at FVHS for the 2014-20215 season. Prior to that, she coached the 7th grade volleyball team at BMS while receiving her BA in Middle Childhood Education at Bluffton University. While in college, she coached ages 14-17 with the Golddiggers Volleyball club. Her playing experience involves high school play and intramural teams in college. She takes great interest in volleyball and basketball, but particularly enjoys watching The Ohio State Buckeyes. Currently, Kali is in her 5th year teaching ESL at FVHS.
Virginia Fitch, Program Director, Coach & Alumna
Virginia is looking forward to her eighth season at NC Elite. Coach V played for NC Elite as a Middle Blocker for two years under Coaches Gary DeJames, Scott Crisco, John Dillinger, and Jamie Hall. After graduating from Sanderson High School in 2010, Virginia continued her career at American University in Washington, DC. During her Freshman and Sophomore seasons at American, Virginia aided in the team's back-to-back Patriot League Championships (2010 & 2011) and back-to-back first-round appearances in the NCAA Division 1 Volleyball Tournament. In 2010, American was the only team out of conference to take UCLA to five-sets. After her two years at American, Virginia continued to play at East Carolina University where she was ranked Top-10 in Conference USA for blocking during the 2012 season; and aided in the most wins in Pirate history during the 2013 campaign. Coach V is a proud 2014 Pirate graduate with a degree in Communications concentrating in Public Relations. Coach V's first two coaching seasons at Elite were with VolleyU and Elite in Training. In 2014, Coach V was the head coach for 14 Silver and the assistant to the 14 AAU team; 14 Silver won Silver at Monument City Classic in Richmond, VA and the AAU team won the 14-Navy Division in Orlando, FL. During the 2015-2016 season, Coach V was the head coach for 14White, and assistant to the 13 AAU team. In the Summer of 2017, Coach V was the Assistant coach for 13 AAU's, and won the 13-Amethyst Division. During the 2017-18 season Coach V was the assistant coach for 15 Cardinal; and took two teams down to AAU’s, 13-Virginia and assisted with 16-Romel. Currently, Coach V is a Varsity Assistant coach for volleyball, swimming and track & field at Saint Mary's School in Downtown Raleigh. In the fall of 2018, Coach V was named the Head Volleyball Coach for Duke University’s Club Volleyball Team. Coach V is excited for the 2018-19 season at Elite, and is looking forward to helping student-athletes achieve their volleyball goals.
Stephanie Flores, Apprentice Coach
BIO COMING SOON
Sarah Frey, Coach & Alumna
Sarah is a Raleigh native, and played 4 years as the starting varsity setter at Broughton High School, along with numerous years of club volleyballl. Upon graduating, Sarah took a break from the game and focused on academics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning Bachelor's degrees in Biology and Psychology. Following her time in Chapel Hill, she joined the YMCA of the Triangle as the Youth Development Director, where she created, developed and supervised two after school programs and summer day camps, supervised 100+ elementary and middle school age children across multiple sites, hired and managed program staff, managed program budgets, and was selected to serve on various committees, including the Innovation and Quality Committee - After School Programs, the Innovation and Quality Committee - Summer Day Camp and the Association-wide Program Development Committee. Sarah continues her work with the YMCA of the Triangle as part of the YMCA Teen Advisory, serving to teach and promote healthy lifestyle choices and leadership in young people. In her full-time work, Sarah is a Knowledge Management Specialist at PPD.
After a few years away, Sarah eventually found her way back to the game of volleyball as an NC Elite Coach. She spent two years as the 15 White Head Coach, traveled to AAU Nationals with the 16 Cardinal team in 2018 and was the NC Elite 16 Cardinal Head Coach for the 2018-19 season. For the 2019 - 2020 season, Sara was selected to coach the NC Elite 16 Black team. Sarah is passionate about the growth and development of young women through the lens of volleyball and will tell just about anyone who will listen about how awesome it is to be a coach!
Paula Giles, Coach
Paula Giles is new to the area but is no stranger to club volleyball. Her experience comes from the volleyball rich state of Texas where she coached with Texas Advantage Volleyball (TAV) as an Assistant with 17s and Head Coach for 15s. She spent the last three years coaching for Houston Skyline where she worked with all ages and most currently coached her 16s team to win two open level qualifiers (PNQ & Disney) and placing 3rd at Lonestar at the open level.
A four-year letter winner for the University of Central Missouri. A two-time All-American and four-time All-MIAA middle blocker at the University of Central Missouri (2008-11), Giles, nee Paula Harris, graduated as the Jennies' all-time leading point scorer, leading UCM to four consecutive NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including the 2010 National Semifinals and the 2011 Elite Eight. Giles graduated from UCM in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in physical education.
Professionally, Paula serves as the Director of Volleyball Operations at UNC Chapel Hill with additional experience as Director of Operations at the University of Houston. She has been an Assistant Coach at Pittsburg State (2014) and a Volunteer Assistant at Rice (2015). Paula also has experience running camps. She was the Prentice Lewis Camp Director from 2011-13, Giles spent a year and a half as a graduate assistant manager for TCU (2012-13) while pursuing a master's degree in liberal arts.
She and her husband Jeff Giles reside in Burlington, N.C.
Bergin Gillespie, Coach
Bergin is originally from Dumfries, VA where she attended St. John Paul the Great Catholic High School. She played four years of varsity volleyball there and was a captain her senior year. She earned MVP her junior year, but her senior season was cut short due to an ACL tear, surgery and recovery. She played two years of club (2011-2013) at Clash Volleyball Club out of Manassas, VA. Then, she played three years (2013-2016) at Fredericksburg Juniors Volleyball Club in Fredericksburg, VA, in high school. While recovering from her knee injury, she was a volunteer assistant on an 18s team. Bergin currently plays at William Peace University in Raleigh, NC, as a DS/libero. She is pursuing a degree in Communications with a minor in psychology. She has previously coached at Fredericksburg Juniors Volleyball Club, running weekend and summer clinics/camps. Bergin coached at Jammers Volleyball Club last club season (2017-2018) as an assistant coach on the 16s National Team. This will be her first season with NC Elite.
Jessica Goodwin, Coach
Jessica is a recent graduate from Meredith College, where she majored in Child Development and obtained teaching licensure in Birth-Kindergarten and Kindergarten-Sixth Grade. She was a DS at Meredith, where she was the recipient of the Dean Burris Coaches Award and earned USA South All-Academic Honors all four years. While at Meredith, she helped the Avenging Angels to a Conference Championship in 2014, a Conference Tournament Championship in 2016, as well as a trip to the DIII NCAA tournament in 2016. Jessica graduated from Person High School in 2013, where she was an outside hitter on the varsity volleyball team for 3 years. She received all-conference honors in 2011 & 2012 and the Chantel Hobbs Memorial Volleyball Award. She played club for Jammers Volleyball Club and earned awards in serving and hitting. Jessica has coached club for 4 years and is currently the head coach of the JV volleyball team at Person High School. She is in her first year of teaching at South Elementary school in Roxboro, NC.
Marteen Hill, Coach & Alumna
Marteen Hill is entering her first year as an club coach. She is a 2014 alumnae of NC Elite. Upon graduating from Leesville Road High School, she continued her undergraduate studies at North Carolina A&T State University where she received her degree in Speech Language Pathology while playing volleyball for three years as a middle blocker. During her career, she received several MEAC Academic Honors and NCAT Student Athlete Awards. Marteen is actively involved in her community. She is a mentor for the Butterflies mentorship program for young women in Greensboro and Raleigh. In her free time she enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and spending time with friends.
Macaiah Honable, Apprentice Coach
BIO COMING SOON!
Anne Hudson, Coach & Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Grace Irvin, Coach & Alumna
Grace is currently a sophomore DS/Libero on the varsity team at NC State University. She played at NC Elite for six years and returns as a resource coach for her third season of coaching. She was the student assistant coach for 14 Silver and 14 White, and spent last season working with Volley U. Grace received the NCHSAA Wells Fargo Sportsmanship Award during her sophomore year at the High School State Championship. She received AAU Volleyball Academic All American honors in her junior year. She previously attended Raleigh Charter High School where she was a starter for four years, two of which served as Captain. She was a state runner-up for two consecutive years and has made all-conference team three years in a row. Grace is a starter at NCSU and was named ACC Freshman of the Week last season for her dynamic performance on the court! Grace looks forward to spreading her passion for volleyball with as many student athletes as she can.
Gabby Isaacs, Coach & Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Homer Isaacs, Coach
BIO COMING SOON!
Sarah Johnson, Coach & Alumna
Sarah is a graduate of Meredith College where she earned her degree in Psychology and a k-6 licensure. She played club volleyball for 5 years a various clubs in the region, including NC Elite Volleyball Club, as a setter and a right side hitter. Sarah also played varsity volleyball for 3 years at Athens Drive High School as a setter. Sarah's coaching experience includes multiple years leading NC Elite teams, Head Court Coach for NC Elite camps and clinics and Head Varsity Coach at St. Mary's High School in Raleigh. Sarah is an NC Elite certified private lessons and small group lessons coach. In addition to coaching, Sarah is also currently Senior Camp Counselor at Lifetime Fitness, and has previously served as Kids Academy Supervisor and Water Supervisor, also at Lifetime Fitness.
Traci (Stewart) Johnson, Coach
Traci graduated from Elon University '12 where she was captain of the Elon volleyball team for both her junior and senior seasons. She played as a right side hitter during her for years at Elon. Traci graduated with degrees in Marketing and Spanish. At Elon, she graduated among the top five on the team in for major statistical categories. Her sophomore season she was named team MVP and All-Southern Conference. She was also a member of the SoCon Academic Honor Roll for all four years of her career. She received her Masters in International Higher Education and now works as an advisor at Meredith College. She attended Northwest Guilford high school and was a four year letter winner, two time All Area player of the year, three-time Metro 4-A player of the year, and three-time All-Conference team member. Traci returns to coaching after time off to get married. She has coached at the 16 Cardinal level int he past. She also coached Elon Volleyball Camps from 2008-2016. Traci lives in Raleigh with her husband, Jeffrey.
Kassie Kasper, Coach
BIO COMING SOON!
Rob Kent, Coach
Rob began coaching 9 years ago in youth leagues around the Triangle. During this time, he has coached over 30 teams in three different sports (volleyball, basketball, and soccer). Rob has coached 19 youth volleyball teams in the last 7 years, for student-athletes ranging in age from 7 to 14 years old. His volleyball teams have won 6 regular season championships and 3 tournament championships.
Rob is originally from Alexandria Bay, NY. In high school, where he was a two-sport varsity student-athlete lettering in basketball and football. Rob graduated SUNY Cortland with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management Science in 1995 and moved south to Raleigh, NC the following year. In 2008, he successfully completed a Master of Business Administration from Pfeiffer University. Rob currently works for InfoPros in Durham, NC as a Senior Director for Client Solutions, leading technical documentation teams across the United States. He lives in Morrisville with his wife Carla and their daughters, Audrey (16) and Claire (13), who attend Panther Creek HS and West Cary MS. Audrey enjoys dance and Claire plays volleyball for NC Elite and West Cary MS.
Whether on the court or at work, Rob has a passion for building and empowering teams to compete. He loves inspiring players to reach their potential on a mental and physical level and instills a “What’s Next?” culture in their approach to the game. Rob is very excited to be starting his second season coaching 16 Silver at NC Elite! #WeAreElite
Meagan Kimbrough, Coach & Alumna
Meagan graduated from Cornell University 2012 where she was Captain of the Cornell Varsity Volleyball Team for both her junior and senior seasons. She played as both an outside and right side hitter during her career at Cornell. Meagan graduated an Art History Major and is currently teaching Art at Eno River Academy grades 9-12. During high school, Meagan was a four-time letter winner at Person High School and made three appearances in the State Championships winning two titles and being named MVP in her senior year. Meagan hails multiple All-Tournament selections and was named as an Academic All-American in her senior year of high school. She played for both Coach Gary DeJames and Coach Sandy Merkel DeJames, and led her team to a USAV National bid in 2007 and committed to Cornell under their coaching. Meagan also participated in many outdoor events at both the junior and adult level, and continues to play grass and sand volleyball.
Meagan has coached volleyball at all skill and age levels, as team, camp and clinic coach. She is currently the Head Coach of Eno River Academy's first ever volleyball team. Previously, Meagan was Head Coach at Roxboro Community School where she was named Coach of the Year for each year she coached (2012-2016) in the Carolina 12 1A Conference. Meagan has coached multiple NC Elite National level teams in her tenure with the organization, including NC Elite 13 Black, NC Elite 14 Black and NC Elite 15 Black. Meagan now lives in Hillsborough with her husband, Philip, and fur-baby, Lucy.
Rachel Kinsey, Coach
BIO COMING SOON!
Saraya Klink, Coach & Alumna
Saraya fell in love with volleyball in the fourth grade in a friend's backyard. Since then, she has been playing volleyball and growing in her love and knowledge of the game. Saraya played all four years in high school and was named second team all conference in both her junior and senior year. Since graduation, Saraya played for the Wake Tech's Women's Volleyball Team for her freshman and sophomore year. During her freshman year she was named Region X Player of the Year and Second Team All-American. She was named to the All Region Team her sophomore year. Saraya has transferred to Shaw University where she is a member of the Lady Bears Women's Volleyball Team and is studying to become an elementary school teacher. Saraya is a 2014 alumnae of NC Elite.
Casey Laing, Program Director, Coach (VolleyU)
Casey Laing is a 2009 graduate of Wakefield High School where she was Academic All-Conference as a middle hitter. She then graduated from Western Carolina University in May, 2013 with a degree in Communication, Broadcasting. Casey continued to play volleyball for the Western Carolina University Women’s Club Volleyball team, where she was the President, Coach, and Captain her sophomore year through senior year. She also taught volleyball at Camp Kanata in Wake Forest, NC. After coaching VolleyU for several years, Casey took over the leadership responsibility of VolleyU from its founder, Renata Fectau, who mentored Casey in both coaching and program administration. Casey has been instrumental in building the VolleyU program and establishing one of the top youth programs and coaching rosters in the area.
Brienna Laskowski, Coach
Brienna is originally from Albemarle, North Carolina where she attended South Stanly High School. She was a 4 year starter on the varsity team and named captain her junior and senior year. She was also named All Conference and SSHS Maxpreps Player of the Year her junior and senior year. She played for several clubs throughout her travel ball journey, the first being Stanly Extreme located in Albemarle, North Carolina. After playing her 13u and 14u season with Stanly Extreme, Brienna then moved to Carolina Storm for a short period of time. After Carolina Storm she then put in one year with Beach South Volleyball Club and Carolina Juniors Volleyball Club before finishing up her travel ball career with Stanly Extreme once again. Brienna now attends William Peace University where she has spent time as a setter, DS, outside, and right side. Brienna plans on earning her degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Global Business. Brienna has coached several years of club volleyball, including the the 14 Black team and 14 Silver.
Riley Lawrence, Coach & Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Kristen Leavel, Coach & Alumna
Kristen is a Junior at Meredith College where she is an Outside Hitter / Defensive Specialist for the Avenging Angels. She is majoring in Psychology and is a member of the Teaching Fellows Program with plans to teach elementary school after graduation. Kristen attended Grace Christian School in Cary, N.C. where she played Outside Hitter for the Eagles. She earned All-Conference honors for multiple seasons and received the Coaches Award her senior year. Kristen played club volleyball at NC Elite for five seasons and excited to be back as a part of the NC Elite family.
Romel Lightbourn, Director of Development, Master Coach
- (919) 539-2110
- (919) 539-2110
Carla Lunday, Coach
Carla Lunday is a graduate of Meredith College where she received a Bachelors of Science in Interior Design. She is now the Design Studio Coordinator at Taylor Morrison. She played volleyball her first two years Meredith College as outside hitter and DS/libero. At Eastern Alamance High School, she earned Mid-State 3A All-Conference Honors during her junior and senior years, was named into the Mid-State 3A All-Tournament Team her senior year and also served as team captain. She played for Alamance Force Volleyball Club and CHAVC, where she earned Carolina Region All-Tournament honors. This is Carla’s seventh year with VolleyU.
Marlee Marotta, Coach & Alumna
Marlee is currently a junior at North Carolina State University, where she is majoring in Nutrition Science and played as a DS/Libero for the NC State Women’s Club Volleyball team. Marlee is a 2016 graduate of Topsail High School, where she played varsity volleyball for 3 years. She was named the captain of her high school team her junior and senior year. She earned recognition on the All-Conference team 3 years in a row and the All-Area team her senior year. Marlee began playing volleyball in when she was nine years old and began playing club at Cape Fear Volleyball. She also played for NC Elite’s satellite team out of Wilmington, as well as for the Topsail Volleyball Club. This is Marlee’s second year coaching with NC Elite and she is excited for the upcoming season.
Allen Marshall, Coach
Allen is originally from St. Lucia, a small island in the eastern Caribbean. His love for volleyball began in his final year at Castries Comprehensive Secondary School where he played as a middle blocker. During that time, he was selected to participate in Junior National training. He also spent time playing as a middle blocker for Le Club volleyball. In 2003, Allen enrolled at St. Augustine’s University located in Raleigh. During his first year he started as a team manager for the St. Augustine's Varsity Volleyball Team, and the following year served as the Assistant Coach. That same year he began his club coaching career as the Assistant Coach for NC Challengers 16-1, where he also coach for the 2005 season (NCC 15-1). In addition to that, in 2005 he attended USAV CAP Level 1 training in Wisconsin. Allen continued to coach club for several years, joining NC Elite and coaching the 2017-2018 Junior USAV season as Head Coach for NC Elite 14 Silver and Head Coach for NC Elite 16s at the 2018 AAU Nationals (Orlando, FL).. Beyond the court Allen is a father of 3 beautiful daughters, twin 14 year olds and a 13 year old.
Marissa Mayfield, Coach & Alumna
Coach Marissa is on sabattical from coaching while she attends medical school at USC!
Marissa is an NC Elite Alumna. She was a national level team member from 16U-18U. She was named to the All-Star Team as part of NC Elite's only National Championship AAU Team in 2011. Marissa was a member of the 2012 Riverside High Team that end the season ranked #2 in the State and undefeated in the PAC-6. During her senior season, she was team captain and MVP and led the conference in several statistical categories. Marissa graduated with honors and was recruited to play for Conference Carolina’s powerhouse Erskine College. At Erskine Marissa was a four-year starter playing right side, outside and middle. Her class graduated as the winningest class in program history with 3 regular season titles and 2 tournament championships. Her senior season Marissa was team captain, Erskine’s female scholar athlete of the year and a member of the Tournament Championship All-tournament team. Over her career the team appeared in two NCAA Division II Regionals and was the first team in the conference to win a game during the tournament when they swept top ranked USC Aiken. Marissa was a two-time recipient of the Division 2 Athletic Director’s Academic Achievement Award, a two-time member of the Conference Academic All-Conference Team, a seven-time member of the Conference Presidential Honor Roll and appeared on the Erskine College Dean’s List several times. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and is currently obtaining her Masters in Public Health through an online accelerated program at Southern New Hampshire University while applying to Medical School.
Joe McClean, Coach
Joe has been coaching youth athletics for 10 years, the last 5 of which have been focused on Volleyball. In his inaugural season at NC Elite, Joe had the distinct privilege of Assistant Coach for the 2018-19 15 Black team, who qualified for, and competed fiercely at, USAV Nationals in Indianapolis.
Originally from California, and arriving by way of Seattle, Joe has now lived in Apex for the past 9 years. He has 3 children, 2 of which are active in the club, one a rising 14yr old, and the other (8) beginning his Volleyball life in Next-Gen.
Joe is passionate about player growth, both in sport and in life. He is a firm believer in former UCLA Coach John Wooden’s philosophy that love is the most powerful 4-letter word, and Joe aims to ensure that every player he interacts with knows unequivocally that they are valued, that their effort matters and is recognized, that hard work pays off, and that win or lose, there is opportunity for growth that will carry far beyond the court.
Andrew McMurray, Coach
BIO COMING SOON!
Mckenzie Moore, Coach & Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Andrea Murrell, Coach
Andrea's love for volleyball began at a very early age while attending middle school in Jamaica. She played volleyball at middle and high school, club (Venus Volleyball Club, Jamaica) and the national level. Andrea was the youngest player on Jamaica's National Senior Volleyball team in 1993 where she represented Jamaica in three Caribbean Volleyball Championships before leaving to attend College in Raleigh, NC on a volleyball scholarship. During her first year of playing in college, Andrea was named rookie of the week on several occasions and made the All CIAA team in that same year. She was awarded the most outstanding Student Athlete award in her senior year of college . She was a starter in High school and all four years in college. Andrea graduated from St. Augustine's University in 2000 with a degree in Computer Information Systems and has a daughter who has also developed a love for the game. She played in NC Elite's VolleyU team and also plays for her middle school team. Andrea is excited to bring her energy, experience, positivity and technical expertise along with her love for the game in this my second year at NC Elite. Andrea served as the 15 Cardinal Assistant Coach in the 2018-19 season.
Elizabeth Pattison, Coach & Alumna
Elizabeth Pattison was a right side hitter for Meredith College, where she she helped Meredith claim the USA South North Division Regular Season Championship, and earned USA South Conference second team honors. Sher was also a volleyball standout at Cuthbertson High School - a four year varsity athlete, team captain, MVP and All-Conference in 2012. She played for three years with Carolina Union Volleyball Club. Elizabeth began gaining valuable coaching experience in high school, working at an annual volleyball summer camp for middle schoolers, more recently working as a resource coach with local clubs, and as a coach at the Meredith College camp, working with athletes of all ages.
Grace Patton, Coach & Alumna
Grace grew up in Raleigh, and her love for volleyball started in middle school at St. Timothy’s School, where she played on the varsity team for all three years. Grace attended Saint Mary’s School where she graduated
from in May. While at St. Mary'e, Grace earned a position on the varsity team all four years, and received the MVP award her junior year. Grace played club volleyball for five seasons, the last three of wich were for NC Elite. She is
currently attending Wake Tech to pursue a degree in Sports Management. Grace has also returned to St.Timothy’s School as the Head Coach of the JV Volleyball team.
Alisha Peters (Laing), Coach
Alisha is originally from Schoolcraft, Michigan, where she was a 4-year letter winner at Schoolcraft High School, earning all-state honors her sophomore through senior year and leading her team to their first ever state championship title in 2008. She continued her career at the University of Georgia, earning two varsity letters and Academic All-SEC. Alisha then transferred to Grand Valley State University to complete her eligibility, and was a team captain her senior year. Alisha graduated from Grand Valley in 2014 with a B.S. in clinical exercise science. In 2017, she graduated from Duke University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Alisha has been coaching volleyball for over 8 years, first with Georgia Juniors, then Michigan Volleyball Academy, then NC Elite volleyball club, and most recently with Tampa North Volleyball Club. Alisha and her husband are returning to Raleigh, NC from Tampa FL, and Alisha will return to NC Elite for the 2019-2020 season. Alisha is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, USA Weightlifting Sports Performance coach, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
Lauren Phillips, Coach
Lauren Phillips is a Sophomore at Meredith College and is majoring in Exercise Sports Science. She is a defensive specialist for the Avenging Angels volleyball team, but was recruited as a setter. Lauren is a 2017 graduate from JH Rose High School in Greenville North Carolina. She played all four years at Rose and was named All-Conference her senior year. Lauren also played travel volleyball for ECJVC for eight years and took on the role as a coach last season. This is Lauren’s third year coaching, but her second season at NC Elite. She is excited to work with your student athlete at Elite.
Cristina Roberts, Coach, Alumna
BIO COMING SOON!
Casie Slaughter, Coach & Alumna
Casie is a Raleigh native and an NC Elite Alumnae. She played club volleyball with local clubs for 4 seasons and played with NC Elite Volleyball Club her final 2 seasons under coach Gary DeJames. She was also a participant of USAV High Performance Program making the National A1 Team in 2007. Casie got offered to be a recruited walk-on for the University of South Carolina as a defensive specialist. However, due to an existing back injury, her career ended after freshman year. She went on to have two internships at Walt Disney World during her college years. She began coaching club volleyball during the 2013-2014 club season with Magnum Volleyball Club, in Columbia, SC, where she assisted the 16 National team for two seasons. After graduating in 2015 majoring in Advertising and minoring in Photography, continued to coach with the same club for the 2015-2016 club season as the assistant for the 15 National team. Casie moved back to Raleigh in the spring of 2018, which is when she reconnected with NC Elite Volleyball Club and assisted 14 Black for the 2018-2019 club season.
Madi Smith, Assistant Program Director, Coach (Volle...
Madi Smith graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2012 with degrees in Spanish and Global Studies. She currently lives in Durham and works at Duke while also pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at UNC. Madi has been playing volleyball for 20+ years and has played both defensive specialist and setter for Athens Drive High School and various clubs in the region. As a 2008 graduate of Athens Drive, she received Academic All-Conference recognition 3 years, All-Conference her junior and senior years, and was selected to play on the Tri-8 All-Star team her senior year. Madi has coached NC Elite VolleyU for 10 years, and more recently took on additional administrative responsibilities, supporting VolleyU Director Casey Laing.
Kelsey Stallman, Apprentice Coach
BIO COMING SOON
Sarah Stone, Coach
BIO COMING SOON
Molly Townsend, Program Director, Coach & Alumna
Molly is an NC Elite Alumnae. She was on our first satellite team and on national level teams from 14U-18U, and was named MVP to NC Elite's only National Championship AAU Team in 2011. At the end of her NC Elite career as a player, Molly earned the Commitment Award. She then went on to play as a six rotation outside hitter at Cape Fear Community College before transferring to University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she competed in her Sophomore season. After her collegiate experience, she worked as an official as well as played at Captain Bills in Wilmington, NC. Molly was a head Junior Varsity Coach at Coastal Christian High School, coached a 16U team at NC Elite Coastal satellite, and 15U team at Cape Fear Volleyball Club also in Wilmington. Molly returned to the Triangle to continue coaching with NC Elite, where she was also a founding coach and administrator for NCElite's NextGen Program.
National CAP I Certifiied
CPR/First Aid Certified
Nicole Willis, Coach & Alumna
Nicole enters her 11th year coaching and her 7th year coaching with NC Elite. Her coaching experience includes two years with East Carolina Juniors Volleyball Club, college camps including Elon, East Carolina, LSU, and NC State, as well as various middle schools around Raleigh. She is the Head Varsity coach at Ravenscroft School where she also teaches third grade. As a member of the charter team at NC Elite, Nicole played under Gary DeJames for five seasons. She was a participant of the USAV High-Performance Program, joining the National A2 Team in 2009.
Collegiately, Nicole played as an outside/rightside for the Bengal Tigers of LSU and the Pirates of East Carolina. She earned her bachelor's degree in Child Development in 2014 and masters degree in Elementary Education in 2015, both from East Carolina. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership.
Nicole lives in Clayton, North Carolina, and is in her fifth year teaching. We look forward to having Nicole head a Raleigh national-level team at the younger ages focusing on fundamentals, discipline and increased knowledge and love of the game.
Serita Wilson, Coach
BIO COMING SOON