DIRECTOR OF COACHING
I discovered this amazing sport at the age of 18, on the sand courts at Arizona State. I instantly fell in love with volleyball and delved about as deep as you can into it over the next decade as a player and a coach. I have been coaching for 26 years, in 5 different states, working with athletes ranging from college players to 5 year olds. About 10 years ago, I decided to take Joseph Campbell's advice: "Follow your bliss." I knew I wanted coaching to be what I did full time, so it was time to figure out how to make that happen. 8 years ago I started Rise Volleyball Academy to give young girls a positive and fun environment in which to learn and play volleyball, and more importantly to explore their place in the world, and develop into amazing young women. I see our gym as a unique opportunity for athletes to learn more about our awesome sport, and also a place to learn more about themselves, through the inevitable ups and downs of the learning process. When not in our gym, you can find me reading a good book while sipping on coffee in downtown Boise, or hiking with my two huskies, Kira and Kurek .
18 NATIONAL 1
I discovered volleyball in a friend’s backyard the summer after my freshman year of high school. I grew up in Northern Virginia as a soccer player, but once I found volleyball everything changed. I fell in love with the sport and couldn’t get enough of it. I played for the first boys club volleyball program in the Washington DC area from 1993 - 1995 and spent as much time as I could fit in during the summers playing doubles. I have played in sand doubles tournaments up and down the east coast and lived in Florida for a summer to play more full time. I started coaching in 2001, while recovering from my first ACL tear, as a varsity assistant at Oakton High School in Virginia and continued when I reached Boise as a varsity assistant for five years at Centennial High School. I have been with Rise Volleyball Academy since its inception. Our gym provides a place for young women to learn, grow, and explore the sport I love. My wonderful wife Kara has coached volleyball since 2004 and has her degree in secondary education. She is currently coaching with me while we raise our amazing little boy Reed. Reed loves coming in to play at “The Big Gym”, as he calls it, and while he may not use it for volleyball, he does enjoy flying around on his Big Wheel. When I’m not at the gym I love to spend time with my family, cook, read, and garden. I have family in Charleston, SC and Santorini Greece, so Kara, Reed, and I often jump on a plane in the off season and go on adventures.
DIRECTOR OF CULTURE
15 NATIONAL 1
Hi I’m Kirsten or mostly known as “Sten.” I first started playing volleyball in 8th grade at Lake Hazel middle school. I then went on to make the Varsity team as a sophomore at Mountain View High. During the summer going into my junior year, my family moved and I attended Rocky Mountain High where we took second in the state tournament my junior year. We then went undefeated my Senior year and won the District and State Championship in 2011. In 2012 I met my best friend, Justin. He later proposed to me in 2015 at sunset at Lucky Peak. We got married in August of 2016 and I couldn’t be happier! Justin and I love to be doing anything outside. We like to go snowboarding, motorcycle riding and watch sports together. When I first met Loren and became apart of Rise Volleyball Academy 8 years ago, I never would have pictured how big of an impact it would have on my life. The countless friendships and relationships I have developed are irreplaceable. The positive culture we have for teaching volleyball, and life lessons is hard to find and I am so grateful to be a part of Rise and helping your daughter become a better player and overall amazing person.
18 NATIONAL 2
17 NATIONAL 1
I fell in love the day I first stepped on a volleyball court at age 10 and instantly knew that it was something I wanted to have in my life forever. I played at the YMCA for two years, discovered club volleyball, and played for 6 seasons, going to the Junior Olympics twice. I played on the varsity team at Centennial all 4 years, my last two of which I had Steve as a coach (He saved my life once! You should ask him about it). I went on to play at Northwest Nazarene University for two years and then trasferred to New Mexico Highlands University. I don't know where I would be without this sport.. I love sharing my passion and knowledge about the game with anyone that will listen. Coaching for Rise has changed my life and who I am as a person. This will be my 9th year coaching volleyball, 6 of which have been here at Rise. When I'm not coaching or working at Sunwest Bank, you'll find me playing volleyball, cuddling my two dogs, out on the water, or traveling.
16 NATIONAL 1
I am 22 from Orange County, California. I moved here in 2014 to go to college at BSU and I played on the Club Volleyball team all four years. I am going to graduate in December with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Family Studies. Right now I work for Community Partnerships of Idaho as a support staff for kids with developmental disabilities inside West Ada schools and after school as well. After I graduate I am hoping to go to grad school to get a masters in Counseling to further my career working with those with developmental disabilities as well as adolescent girls. This is going to be my 4th year coaching at Rise and although school, coaching, and work take up most of my time when I’m not doing those things I like to hang out with my cat, go to McCall, and go to new restaurants in downtown Boise.
16 NATIONAL 1
My volleyball journey began as an off-season sport in junior high, in Southern California. It was a fun way for my basketball and football teammates to step away from intense conditioning and workouts while still being active and cross training. We trained all summer playing sand doubles on the beach with a prior Mexican National team member, and former Olympic beach coach to train us. My senior year, our high school varsity team went undefeated for the first time in our school's history, won the league title, and went all the way to the CIF finals. I played one semester at my junior college, and picked it up again intently when I transferred to Boise State where I played middle and was the Men’s Club President, taking us to tournaments across the PNW, Utah, and to nationals in Dallas in 2013. Boise State is where I got involved with this amazing volleyball community and began working with Loren, Steve and others to continue to grow and strengthen the collegiate, adult and youth volleyball experience. I began coaching for Rise in 2012 and have coached teams at all levels. Rise has given me the spark to continue to be a good teacher, coach, friend and player. Rise allowed me the venue to meet my girlfriend Ashlyn, where we share our love for volleyball and the relationships and experiences we create along the way. Coaching and playing at Rise encouraged me to apply for the Air Force Men’s Volleyball team in 2018, where I made two rounds of cuts and played on the team that won gold in the Armed Forces championships. With all these great experiences and a culture at Rise that allows greatness to be achievable, I plan to make Rise a forever home.
16 NATIONAL 2
16 REGIONAL 1
After being a ballerina for 10 years, I walked up to my mom and told her I wanted to play volleyball at 12 years old. My mom was terrified. She went out and bought me a new pair of pointe shoes because she thought I would be shattered and that I wouldn’t make the team. Joke’s on her. I made the 7th grade volleyball team. I made Varsity my Freshman year at Pocatello High School and played all four years. I had a scholarship to Wenatchee Valley in Wenatchee, WA. After going up to play and see what college volleyball was about, I made the decision that it wasn’t for me (I regret that decision every day). I missed volleyball, so I decided to coach! Fast forward to now, I’ve been a coach for 8 years. This will by my 3rd at Rise. I love Rise. From all the clubs and high schools I have had the opportunity to coach at, I think Rise is the best fit for me. I’ve created some of the best memories and relationships not only with fellow coaches, but also players and their parents. If I’m not at work at Sunwest Bank--I’ve been a banker for 8 years as well-- or coaching then I’m probably watching the Minnesota Vikings play, hanging out with my other half Steven and our three dogs, or napping.
16 REGIONAL 2
15 REGIONAL 1
Hi my name is Mali Sawyer (pronounced Molly to save you all the trouble)! I’m currently a senior in college playing volleyball at The College of Idaho. I’m majoring in Psychology and minoring in Human Biology, Natural Sciences, and Human Services. After my undergrad, I will be getting my masters in School Counseling. I started playing volleyball when I was in the 7th grade and haven’t been able to stop since. I was an OG Rise player and stayed with the club throughout my career. Rise became a part of my family l, and I’m honored to still be a part of it as a coach. I have coached summer camps for Rise since I was a freshmen in high school, and I’m going into my 2nd season as a team coach. I was a 4 year varsity starter for Eagle High school. I was then offered a full ride scholarship to play indoor and outdoor volleyball at Hawaii Pacific University. After that adventure, I transferred to C of I to start a new adventure! Last year, my team got 5th in the country at the NAIA National tournament. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to coach and help girls reach their potential in both volleyball and life. If I’m not in the gym, you can find me at the sand courts, out hiking, or playing with my dog!
14 REGIONAL 1
14 REGIONAL 2