COACHES AND STAFF

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Barry Wheeler

18 National  Navy Head Coach

Originally from Flint, MI Coach Wheeler has 34 years combined experience in coaching/teaching at the college, high school, and club levels, with 17 years at the NAIA and NCAA DII level. Coach Wheeler received his BA from Harding University, MSS from United States Sports Academy, MEd from Southwest Baptist University, and is USA CAP II certified. Married to Lynette (1986), Barry has 3 children (Logan, Brandtly, and Lauren) and 5 grandchildren. 

HS/College Awards and Accomplishments: 

Conference Coach of the Year (3x)

MHSVCA Class 2 Coach of the Year

Rochester University Shinsky Hall of Fame

National Champion (2x)

Missouri Class 2 State Champion

Conference Champion (4x)

District Champion (4x)

State Quarterfinalist (3x)

Club Awards and Accomplishments:

Regional Champion (2x)

Lonestar National Qualifier Champion

USAV Girls National Championship participant

Mizuno Easterland Qualifier 3rd place

Mid-East National Qualifier Top 10 

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Julia Krebs

17 National  Navy Head Coach

Julia played high school volleyball at Clever High School in MO and played Club volleyball for 8 years with Springfield Juniors & Club Bear. After high school she went on to play volleyball at Missouri Valley College for 4 years earning a degree in Exercise Science. During college she was able to coach with a local club team out of Higginsville, MO ages from 13-15s. After graduating she began her coaching career; she went to Avila University where she was the Graduate Assistant Coach for two years while earning her Masters in Kinesiology. Upon graduation she accepted a Head Coaching position at University of the Southwest in Hobbs, NM. There in her lone season leading the program, her Mustangs were limited to only 16 matches due to the coronavirus pandemic. After season she accepted the Assistant Coaching position with Drury University here in Springfield, MO. 

 

"The biggest part of coaching for me are the relationships and impact I can make on players. College, club or even camps I want to help these young ladies become the best versions of themselves on the court and also off. I am excited to join the Apex family & get the year started!”

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Emmi Murphy

17 Regional Navy Head Coach

Emmi grew up in Republic, MO and transferred to Springfield for high school where she attended Central and graduated in 2015. She played varsity all 4 years of high school building on previous years of club and school volleyball. Emmi continued her career at Webster University as a Varsity setter until injury ended her career. During school Emmi coached competitive gymnastics. After graduating in 2019, Emmi returned to volleyball as a club coach for Elite volleyball in St. Louis. Now back in Springfield, Emmi is working on a Master's in Education and enjoying being a stay at home while coaching on the side. Emmi coached middle school volleyball at Pipkin Middle School in their last season and is looking forward to coaching club again.

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Deirdre Smith

16 National Navy  Head Coach

Deirdre grew up playing both soccer and volleyball all four years of high school. She was First Team All-Northern for soccer and volleyball, and was the league MVP, team MVP, and top server.  Deirdre went on to play volleyball at Evangel and  was voted the Most Improved Player in 1993. She graduated college with a degree in physical education and obtained a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Physical Education from Missouri State University. Deirdre has an extensive coaching career, having coached Varsity volleyball at Springfield Catholic, JV volleyball at Parkview High School, middle school volleyball at Reed Middle School, and currently is going into her second season as the varsity coach at Hillcrest High School,  Coach Smith has coached for Club Bear/Apex for 19 years. Deirdre is CAP 2 Certified and has attended gold medal square coaches' training.

Favorite Quote: "Most people get excited about games, but i've got to be excited about practice because that's my classroom" -Pat Summit

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Chris Smith

16 National Navy Assistant 

Bio Coming Soon

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Rachel Watson

16  National Navy Assistant

Bio coming soon

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Kennedy Atkinson

16  National  Red Head  Coach

Kennedy grew up in Willard, MO where she attended Willard High School and graduated in 2018. While in high school, Kennedy played volleyball on the varsity team all 4 years and gained a great deal of knowledge of the game while building lifelong relationships throughout her high school career. Following high school, she continued her volleyball career at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO as an OH. In the fall she will be attending Missouri State University pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  Kennedy also played competitive club volleyball for 7 years.  Coach Atkinson is excited to create more relationships and memories as a coach for Apex! 

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McKenna Miller

16 National Blue   Head   Coach

McKenna grew up in Rogersville, Mo where she attended Logan-Rogersville High School and graduated in 2018. McKenna played volleyball all 4 years of high school, where she played varsity the last 3 years of high school. McKenna was the setter for the Rogersville team, where she lead the team to 3 district championships, 3 COC conference championships, and 1 final 4. Following high school, she attended College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO as a S/DS. In the winter of 2019, she decided to transfer to Evangel University where she played as the setter her sophomore year. McKenna is now at Evangel University and Cox College pursuing a degree in nursing. This is McKenna’s 2nd year at Apex and 4th year coaching club. She is so excited to form relationships with these girls and coach in a competitive club! 

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Maggie Skeens

16 Regional Navy  Head Coach

Maggie Plake Skeens went to high school in Lebanon, Missouri and graduated in 2016. Maggie has experience playing high school volleyball, club volleyball, and also running track all four years as a multi-sport athlete. She specialized as a middle hitter and won many tournament, conference, and district awards during her 3 years on varsity. Maggie went on to play 4 years at College of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri. She continued her development as a middle hitter and was a starting player her last two years. During her time at C of O, her team won many conference and regional championships. Maggie’s team also qualified for the NCAA national tournament in 2016 and 2017 and placed second in the NCCAA national tournament in 2018. Maggie finished her college career with a NCCAA National Championship win in December of 2019.

Maggie has a degree in Molecular Biology  from C of O and will graduate in May of 2022 from Southwest Baptist University with her degree in Nursing, hoping to soon become an RN/BSN! While Maggie has 11 years of experience as a player, this is her first year coaching club volleyball. Coach Maggie is excited to help develop future players and make an impact this season!

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Kailey Bridges

15 National Navy  Head  Coach

Kailey played high school volleyball at Logan-Rogersville High School in MO and played club volleyball for 7 seasons at Club Bear Volleyball. After her playing career, Kailey coached at Republic Schools for 4 years where she had two first-place finishes in the 8th grade large division Central Ozarks Conference Championships. In 2011, Kailey left Republic Schools to coach and teach at Marshfield High School for 7 years. During her time there, the Lady Jays had multiple tournament championships and 2nd place finishes in Conference and District play. In 2018, Kailey relocated to Branson High School to teach and run their volleyball program. During her second season at the helm, Kailey led the Class 4 Pirates to a record-setting season including the most wins in school history (29).

Kailey has worked with ages 5-18 at various volleyball camps, clinics, and private lessons over the past 14 years and has directed multiple youth volleyball developmental programs. She coached at various clubs for 9 years and ran her own club for 10 years in the Springfield, MO area. Kailey is an Impact Certified coach for indoor and beach volleyball through USA Volleyball, as well as a USA Volleyball CAP I accredited coach.

 

She also serves as the Chair of Junior Player Development for the Board of Directors at Heart of  America Volleyball. In 2020, Kailey resigned from teaching and coaching at Branson High School in order to help her husband with the family business they acquired in 2019. In addition, she is studying to earn her Masters in Business Administration at LSU.  

Kailey recently earned her USAV National Scorer Certification (May 2021) and also her PAVO scoring certification (August 2021). She is also now on the USA Volleyball Recognitions Commission, as well as various committees through the Junior Assembly of USA Volleyball. 

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Brittany Wright

15  National  Navy   Assistant Coach

Brittany has coached teams of all ages throughout her volleyball career. Brittany comes to Apex after finishing a coaching position of 9 years with the USAV club Extreme Juniors VBC. In addition to coaching, Coach Wright also practices with her doctorate of physical therapy at the Branson Healing Arts Center where she is passionate about both pediatrics and orthopedic conditions.  Coach Wright’s volleyball career began with Ozark Juniors VBC and continued to Evangel University where she assisted with the 2009 HAAC championship. Coach Wright has played through all levels of volleyball, both local and elite, and believes in player motivation and responsibility to participate in team collaboration. 

 

“I am excited to continue coaching and look forward to improving the lives of the next group of kids I have the opportunity to coach. Volleyball is more than a game, and I plan to continue to use it as a way to enrich the lives of the players on my court”

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Leslie Forester

15  National Red Head Coach

Bio coming soon

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Kiley Alumbaugh

15 National  Blue   Head Coach

Kiley attended Willard High School and played Club Bear volleyball during her time as a high school athlete. She continued her education and volleyball career at Evangel University where she majored in Early Childhood Education. She also received her Masters in Literacy through Missouri State University. She coached club volleyball for Club Bear during her collegiate career until she moved from Springfield to pursue a teaching job. She has coached volleyball for numerous age groups over the past 10 years. She is currently a Kindergarten teacher and a Momma to her one-year-old, Hattie. She is excited to build relationships and watch her players grow and develop.

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Kylie Galindo

15  Regional   Navy Head Coach

Kylie is from Strafford, MO where she played for the Lady Indians Volleyball Team all four years gaining Varsity Captain during her Senior Year along with making all conference and all district teams. She was an all-around player who specialized in Middle/Outside/Right side positions. Kylie also played 5 years of Club where she gained her passion for a more competitive level of volleyball and received several college offers. Choosing to take a different opportunity after graduation, Kylie attended the University of Arkansas (Woo Pig Sooie) for Accounting followed by attending MSU receiving a degree in Marketing. Although she was not playing college, volleyball was still a big part of her life as she transitioned into a coaching roll. Kylie is Safe Sport and IMPACT certified. Her past coaching experience consists of 6 years of club ball (ages 14-16) and 1 year of JV High School ball. Kylie is entering her 8th year of coaching club and is thrilled to be part of the APEX family. 

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Lindsey Barton

15 Regional  Red  Head Coach

Lindsey grew up in the small town of Hillsboro, Missouri which is just south of St. Louis. She grew up playing volleyball since the age of 13 in the combination of church leagues, club, and with her mother. She also played on the Hillsboro school team starting her 7th grade year through her senior year. Barton has also been apart of many club teams in the St. Louis area. She specialized in defense, but also has experience with outside/right side positions in the front row and setting.

 

After graduating high school, Lindsey took her volleyball career to Jefferson College, which was a local community college in her area. She played there for two years then transferred to Southwest Baptist University to finish off her career. Lindsey graduated from SBU with a Bachelor’s degree in General Biology, and is still attending SBU as a part of their Doctorate of Physical Therapy program.

 

Lindsey has helped with many clinics and camps not only through APEX, but through out her career playing volleyball. This will be Lindsey’s second year with APEX.

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Danielle Fisher

15 Regional  Blue  Head Coach

Bio Coming Soon

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Monica McVey

14  National   Navy  Head  Coach

Monica attended Aurora High School where she was a three sport athlete. She continued her education at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. She graduated with a degree in education and went back to teach 4th grade in Aurora. In 2004, she began her coaching career at Aurora under head coach Stephanie Heman. McVey gained experience coaching JV, freshman, 8th grade, and 7th grade. Her two daughters have grown up in the gym, either playing under the volleyball cart or trying to stick a $20 bill in the vending machine because Mom was busy coaching. The skills they acquired from school ball and club have allowed her oldest, Julia, to achieve state awards her senior year and allowed her to play collegiately at NCCC. Gabie, a junior at Aurora is switching positions from setter to libero this year because of her knowledge of the game. Last season, McVey coached our 13 National Navy team for Apex. She is impact certified and in the past 7 years she has coached for Club Bear, she has coached at the 14’s, 13’s, 12’s, 11’s, and 10’s levels.

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Courtney Jackson

14  Regional   Navy Head Coach

Courtney has played volleyball for 7 years before beginning her coaching career.  She graduated from Hillcrest High School, where she played volleyball all four years.  She has been a coach for Apex/Club Bear for 5 years now. She has coached 10's, 12's, 13's, and 16's. Along with coaching club, Courtney has coached middle school volleyball for two years, one at Hickory Hills and one season at Ash Grove.  She will be teaching sixth grade reading and writing in Bois D’Arc this year. She has been married and living in Strafford for a year now with her husband and dog, Lila. Coach Jackson's goals as a coach are to give every player a chance to love the game and improve their skills while building teamwork.  Courtney says, "I strive to be like Proverbs 21:35 “She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.”

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Emily Moore

14  Regional Red  Head Coach

Emily attended Aurora High School and graduated in 2018. She was a three-sport athlete in volleyball, basketball, and track. In high school, she helped her volleyball team win Districts three of the four years, and she earned several different district and conference honors as a 6 rotation OH. After high school, she continued to play volleyball at Missouri State University - West Plains as a Libero. There her team won Regionals her sophomore year. Over the years, Emily has gained knowledge of the game from several different coaches and mentors. Currently she is coaching at Central High School as the freshman coach and attending Missouri State University where she is studying to be a Physical Education teacher. Coach Emily is super excited to create memories this coming season!

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Tori Lowry

14 Regional   Blue Head Coach

Bio coming soon

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Allisann Nichols

14 Regional  White Head Coach

Bio coming soon

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Marci Adams

1National Navy Head Coach

Marci is going into her 8th year as the varsity volleyball coach at Kickapoo High School. Prior to coaching at Kickapoo, she was the head coach at Springfield Catholic for 4 years.  During her high school years, Coach Adams played volleyball at the record setting Winona High School.  Her team won second place in the state her junior year and won the state title her senior year.  Marci went on to play volleyball at MSSU, where she played every position on the court, but her main role was setting.  Her club coaching experience started when she was playing in Joplin at MSSU. She's coached various ages while in Joplin, with Springfield Juniors, and most recently last year coaching the Apex 12 National team.  Coach Adams is impact certified and has attended the gold medal square coaching clinics.  

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Kaylah Cottengim

13 Regional Navy Head Coach

Bio coming soon

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Rylee Moseman

13  Regional   Red Head  Coach

Rylee graduated from Republic High School in 2020. She earned several different district and conference honors as a 6 rotation setter and right-side hitter. After high school, Rylee continued her volleyball career and attended Neosho County Community College where she spent 2 seasons. In Rylee's freshman year she and her team earned the first district title for the college volleyball team in history while Rylee was ranked 3rd nationally in assists as a setter. She gained her love for the sport by playing for Club Bear from the ages of 12-18 and has a lot of respect for this club. She has gained a lot of knowledge about this sport and is super excited to pursue this knowledge and love for volleyball with others. Recently she just ended playing her last year of volleyball and will be entering her first year of coaching. She is very excited to see everyone continue to get better and create memories with her team!

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Rylie Morrison

13 Regional   Blue Head Coach

Rylie was born in Grapevine, Texas, and was raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. She attended Pinnacle High School and graduated in 2021. While in high school, Rylie played volleyball on the varsity team for 2 out of her 4 years and played club volleyball at Arizona Sky for 4 years. Through her 8 years of playing experience, she has gained lifelong friendships, a deep love for the game, and a great deal of volleyball IQ. Following high school, she is continuing her volleyball career at Evangel University as a Right Side. Rylie fell in love with volleyball for the first time at the age of 13 so she is so excited to make an impact on these girls' lives so that they have the opportunity to do the same. "When you work hard, the impossible things become possible.”

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Abbie Lane

12 National Navy Head Coach

Abbie Lane is a new addition to our APEX staff in 2020.  Abbie was a  former collegiate volleyball player at the University of Kansas, she will bring not only years of experience on the court but also will be leading our athletes in sports performance training clinics.  Abbie is a Certified Youth Exercise Specialist and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. The training programs will focus on helping our athletes become more dynamic and efficient while educating the importance of total boy control and strength. 

 

Abbie was the head coach at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City for 6 years before moving to Springfield with her husband and 3 children.  While in KC, she also coached for the MAVS organization and led her 12-1 team to the National finals.

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Carly DeBriyn

12  Regional  Navy Head Coach

 Carly attend Clever High School and graduated in 2020. In high school, she played volleyball and ran track. She was on the varsity team all 4 years playing 6 rotations 3 of those 4 years. She earned several awards including, 4x academic all-state, 3x all-conference, 3x all-districts and all-state. Carly played volleyball for 10 years before deciding she wanted to showcase her passion for volleyball through coaching. After high school, she continued her education at Missouri State University studying Entertainment Management. She plans to get a Masters in Business Administration following graduation. This is Carly’s second year at Apex and she also coaches Freshman volleyball at Clever High School.

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Tessa Newman

12  Regional  Red Head Coach

Coach Tessa grew up in and went to school at Clever. She was a three sport athlete in high school playing basketball, volleyball, and running track. She was an honorable mention selection x3, all conference selection x2, and went to state in track her sophomore year. She graduated from Clever high school in 2019 and continued her volleyball career at Labette Community College for the past two years. While playing she earned an all tournament team selection and was ranked 2nd in the nation for digs. Coach Tessa moved back home after completing her associates degree and is now attending Missouri State University where she is pursuing a degree in Communication Science and Disorders with an emphasis in Speech Language Pathology. Coach Tessa started her first year of coaching junior varsity at Clever high school in 2021, as well as her first year at Apex. She is very excited to join the Apex family!

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Molly Illum

11 National Navy Head Coach

Coach Illum was born and raised in Fort Collins, CO, then came out to Springfield to play volleyball at Evangel University. There she met and married Brenton Illum who at the time was a college football coach.  Coaching took them back and forth between MO and CO 3 separate times. Coaching Illum is currently the PE teacher/track coach/wellness coordinator at Reeds Spring Middle School. 

Coach Illum started her club coaching career while still in college for a wonderful lady named Sue Daugherty at Club Bear in 1998.  We have a wonderful, energetic, spirited 7 year old daughter Aspen.

 

Coaching resume:

2000 Graduate Asst @ Evangel University

2001-02 Assistant @ Fort Lewis College in Durango CO

2003 Head Coach @ Bayfield High School in Bayfield, CO

2004-05 Head Coach @ Central High School in Springfield, MO

2008-09 Middle School/Club Coach in Gunnison, CO 

2010-15 Head Coach @ Central High School in Springfield, MO

2017-20 Head Coach @ Reeds Spring High in Reeds Spring, MO

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Amy Gardner

11  Regional Navy Head Coach

Amy has had many years of experience as a player and a coach. She was a first team All-Conference player during her senior season at Southwest Missouri State University. She went on to play several years in the Open division of USAV and concluded her playing days with the Kansas City Lightning Women’s Professional
team in 1998.
After earning a BS in Education, she started as an assistant coach at Verona High School. She left that position for a chance to be an assistant coach at Missouri State. Amy moved on to a head coaching job at Logan-Rogersville High School. A college coaching opportunity presented itself in 2001 and she found herself heading to NCAA Division I University of North Carolina-Wilmington where she served one season as an assistant coach and two as the head coach.  NCAA Division II Drury University called her home and she coached four seasons with the Panthers. Along the way she worked summer camps at Washington University in St. Louis, West Plains Junior College, Missouri State, and University of Alabama. One summer she had
the awesome experience of being the West Zone Coordinator at the Olympic Festival in St.
Louis.
Amy is a teacher at the Phelps Center for Gifted Education, and volleyball coach at Cherokee
Middle School. She spends her summers coaching for the Community Sports Development
Program. She enjoys watching her two daughters play volleyball and looks forward to giving
back to the sport that has given her a lifetime of experiences.

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Meredith Avery

10  Regional Navy Head Coach

Meredith graduated from Ozark High School where she played volleyball all 4 years as a defensive specialist and libero. She is now a sophomore attending Evangel University where she is continuing her volleyball career as a Defensive Specialist and pursuing a degree in Marketing. She played club volleyball from the time she was 8 years old all the way to her 18’s year.  While at Club Bear, she was coached by Caira Dortch her 14’s year! This will be Coach Avery's second year coaching for Apex. She is also IMPACT certified.

Favorite Quote: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." -Tim Notke

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Caira Dortch

10 Regional  Red Head Coach

Recruiting Coordinator

Director of Player and Coach Development

Dortch is in her 2nd year at Apex Volleyball Club as Recruiting Coordinator/Director of Coach and Player Development and will be coaching the 10 Regional Red this season. Dortch will also be working with The Art of Coaching Volleyball. LLC for the upcoming 2022 Coaching Clinic Series in addition to her roles with Apex Volleyball.

 

Dortch recently spent 6 seasons (2014-2020) as the Head Coach at NCAA D-II, Southwest Baptist University. During her time at SBU, there were 9 All-MIAA recognition and 46 MIAA Academic Honor Roll recognition. She also guided the team to an AVCA team-academic award in 2017 and 2018.

Previous to SBU, Dortch spent three seasons (2011-2014) as the assistant coach at Drury University. At Drury, Dortch primarily trained the Defense and Outside Hitters. She helped lead the volleyball team to their first ever GLVC conference tournament win in 2011. Dortch coached multiple All-Conference and Academic All-Conference players while at Drury.

In 2009, Dortch was the Assistant Varsity/Head JV Coach at Evangel and helped lead the team to a 28-9 record and a berth in the NAIA National Tournament.

Dortch graduated in 2009 from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Pyschology and a minor in French. She played volleyball for Arkansas from 2005-2006; 2008 where she was a setter and defensive specialist. Dortch went on to receive her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Evangel University in 2011.

 

Caira currently resides in Springfield, Missouri with her husband Jarrod and two daughters, Addisyn (10) and Evyn (4).

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Julia Hansen

Apex Beach Head Coach

Julia was a multi-position standout at Fort Atkinson High, spending most of her time as a six-rotation player with one season as a libero. Averaged 4.47 kills, 4.41 digs and 1.44 blocks per set as a senior. Earned first-team all-conference honors each of her final two seasons. Julia went on to play  for the Missouri State Lady Bears indoor volleyball program, where she saw time in 12 sets over seven matches, all during the MVC season.  Due to an injury she switched from indoor to beach volleyball where she played one season for the MSU Beach Volleyball program. She graduated from MSU with a degree in Psychology and is in her second season as the JV coach at Hillcrest HS.  The past two summers she has has been running our Apex Beach Volleyball program.   She loves to train and teach the fundamentals of the game.  

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SUE DAUGHERTY

APEX CLUB DIRECTOR
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CONNIE FARIA

APEX CLUB OWNER
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JERRY SCHNEIDER

DIRECTOR OF COACHES