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 .
FINANCIAL DIRECTOR & 18 NATIONAL 1 COACH
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 COACH
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 1 ASSISTANT
Growing up with three brothers, I played basketball, soccer, and baseball. I didn't get to play volleyball until 8th grade but as soon as I tried it, I knew I had found my true love. I had the opportunity to play for Loren in high school. He had a very positive impact on me and helped me grow as a player and a person. After high school, I knew I wanted to be involved with volleyball as a coach. I started with Rise its second year, and never looked back. I have been coaching for 14 years. I am so grateful to those that gave me a chance as a young coach and have helped me to be able to continue to do what I love to this day. I met my incredible husband, Steve Kenney while coaching volleyball. He is the greatest human alive! We have a wonderful three year old boy named Reed. We love the beach and are true beach bums at heart. We enjoy watching men's and women's college volleyball, beach volleyball, and the USA Men's and Women's National Teams compete! Being a part of Rise Volleyball Academy is incredible. I have grown so much as a coach and continue to learn and expand my knowledge base with so many different faucets of the game. The relationships cultivated here are lifelong and the culture we have created is unmatched. I look forward to the future as we all continue to learn and grow the game together!
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 2
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!
16 REGIONAL 3
15 REGIONAL 1
15 REGIONAL 2
14 REGIONAL 1
I first discovered volleyball in middle school choosing to play because my teacher at the time was the head coach and talked me into it. I then fell in love with the sport. I played softball and basketball before volleyball and continued to play all 3 sports through high school. When I moved to Boise I played on BSU’s club team for 2 years. I then found Rise. I never thought that I would love coaching as much as I do here. This will be my 4th year at Rise and I love the culture of the gym as well as the positive relationships I get to have with the athletes. When I’m not coaching or playing volleyball I have a passion for working with kids with disabilities. I have worked in the Boise School District for the past two years as a para in a ERR classroom, I am also working on my Bachelors in Special Education. I have also recently started crafting and making signs for home décor and weddings. In my free time I like to be outside golfing, playing volleyball, hiking with my dogs, going to the mountains, or being on the water.
14 REGIONAL 2
It all started at the local YMCA sporting my oversized green t-shirt as a newly named “Green Gator.” It was my first competitive team which helped make the transition from ballet to volleyball, and I never went back. Even at 7 years old, I knew volleyball was my fix. My mom played the game frequently and whenever she was out playing, you’d more than likely find me with her, watching and hoping to play or beaming with excitement because the members of the days group agreed to let me play! Through the years I attended Boise State’s camps on an annual basis as well as participated in local clubs in the Boise area. I relocated to Heber City, Utah my Freshman year in high school and played varsity all throughout my high school career. My freshman year in 2009 we took home the state title. However, in the years to follow, we were not as fortunate. It was during those years I learned a lot about what it means to be a teammate, to persevere and what is needed from a coach. During this time, I experienced two total reconstructive surgeries on my right knee and worked diligently to get back in the game. After months of physical therapy, I was able to return to the court my senior year. I continued to play with girlfriends in grass tournaments, hosted by the U or any drop-in games in the Sugarhouse area. Now as a recent wife and mother, I love to spend time with my husband, our two fur-babies and our newly added son, Harrison. We love to hang out at home, cook, and take frequent trips to Utah to visit family and friends. You can also find us indulging in the local Greek food and other great amenities the Treasure Valley has to offer!”
I am a freshman attending and playing volleyball at the College of Idaho. I am currently majoring in psychology with a minor in coaching, philosophy, and health performance. I started playing volleyball officially when I was in 8th grade, where I completely fell in love with the game. After playing softball all my life I quit to pursue a better career in volleyball. I am an Outside and Right side hitter. I attended Centennial High school where I was a varsity athlete my junior and senior year. To end my Volleyball career at Centennial, I was an All-Southern Idaho conference pick as a senior. I also played with Rise all 4 years of high school. This will be my first official year coaching my own team at Rise. I did help coach other teams for the last couple of years and I also coached summer camps. I was born and have lived in Boise my whole life. Some of my favorite hobbies other than volleyball include boating or camping with family or going on road trips with friends. I am so excited to have this opportunity to coach and help other understand and love the game ! I cannot wait to meet everyone!