Karen Sonders, Executive Director
- (847) 293-8564
- (847) 293-8564
Karen grew up in Crystal Lake, IL where she competed for Sky High volleyball club and Crystal Lake Central High School. She was a three-year varsity starter on a team ranked in the top ten in the state all three years. In her time at Crystal Lake Central, she set a school record for most kills in a season, was an FVC all-conference selection, all-area selection, and Chicago Tribune all-state special mention as a setter and outside hitter.
Karen went on to accept a full-scholarship to play for Michigan Tech University (1998-2001), where she completed her BS in biomedical engineering. Karen played both outside and right side hitter and was named MVP in her sophomore year. A 3-time All-GLIAC selection, Karen finished her tenure as the school’s season and career leader in digs.
Karen began her coaching career 19 years ago where she spent three seasons as the head varsity volleyball coach at Chassell Township High School in Michigan. In 2002, she earned Conference Coach of the Year honors after taking over a team that had never won a match and leading it to the conference championship the next year.
Between 2003 and 2006, Karen served on the volleyball staff at the University of Wisconsin Madison as the director of operations. At Wisconsin, Sonders directed and managed five camps with more than 1,000 participants, 40 employees and five sites. During her time at Wisconsin, the team made two NCAA Elite Eight appearances.
Karen was also the development director with Wisconsin Power Volleyball and in 2003, club director at the Fusion Volleyball Academy in Crystal Lake, Ill. In addition to her duties as FVA’s club director, Sonders served as facility manager for the Fusion Sports Center. With Wisconsin Power Volleyball in 2004, Sonders led her 18's team as it qualified for its first Junior Olympic Nationals, preparing all 10 players for careers in collegiate volleyball.
Karen Sonders came to Northwestern as an assistant coach in March of 2006. Karen assisted in all aspects of the Wildcats' program, including on-court instruction , recruiting, scouting and the coordination of camps. She also coordinated the team defense, coached the outside hitters and liberos, built scouting reports, handled team travel and managed the Northwestern coaching clinic. In her first season with the program, three different Wildcats landed on Northwestern single-season top-10 lists. She helped freshman libero Kate Nobilio to the second-best single-season dig total in school history, and coached Lindsay Anderson into the NU 1,000-Kill Club. Under Karen’s in-game instruction in 2007, Northwestern set a program record with 339.5 total blocks, holding opponents to a paltry .169 hitting percentage. In addition, middle blocker Chelsy Hyser earned AVCA All-Region accolades, becoming the first Wildcat to win an All-Region honor since 2002. Karen grew the Wildcats' volleyball camps into the largest they have ever been in just her first year at the helm of the sessions.
Karen founded Wildcat Jrs. VBC in 2007, beginning with five teams ages U12-U14. Through it’s continued success, the club has grown to twenty seven teams between U11-U18 and has become the premier club of the North Shore and Chicagoland area.
The 2012 season marked several firsts for Wildcat Juniors. The club graduated its first class of seniors, sending more than half to play D1 volleyball in college. There were several seniors, juniors, and even a few sophomores who accepted full scholarships to top volleyball programs. And two of our athletes were selected to play on the USA Junior National Team — the only two players selected from Illinois.
In 2013, after taking a break to finish a Masters degree in Nursing from DePaul University and having a baby, Karen jumped back into coaching as the head coach of 18 Black. The team finished the Great Lakes Power League with a record of 18-6. At the AAU National Championships, Karen led 18 Black to a 9-3 record, winning the Silver Division and taking 16th place in the 18 Open.
In 2014, Karen coached 18 Black to a 5th place finish in the 18 Open at the AAU National Championships in Orlando, FL. The team played a whopping 15 matches in 4 days, with a record of 11-4 including the team's crossover match against Peru in the International Division. Karen also guided the team to a 1st place championship and an 8-0 record at the JVA Midwest Challenge in Des Moines, IA with a huge wins over Nebraska Jrs and Iowa Rockets in the semis and finals.
As a Lead Trainer, Karen oversaw the development of the juniors and seniors that made up the club's 18's age group. Karen prepared all ten seniors for their college volleyball careers: six of which were on full scholarships to DI schools, one on full scholarship at a DII university and three will be continuing on to play at DIII universities. In that senior group, Karen also coached 2013 USA National Team player, Taylor Tashima, who was chosen as a 2014 All-American after her performance at AAU Nationals.
Starting in 2015, Karen focused solely on the day-to-day duties of managing and directing the club. It’s continued growth, has led to an amazing staff of 37 coaches - aka the dream team! Karen takes great pride in maintaining great relationships with her coaching staff, including continuing professional development and constantly striving for improvement.
Under Karen’s leadership, the program has continued it’s tradition of turning out well-rounded volleyball student athletes who are community-minded. Karen implemented the annual community service team event, which put over 250 youth players into our surrounding community in various respects - giving back and growing as young leaders. All the while deepening the team’s bonding and understanding how to work with one another.
Karen and her husband, Dave, have two young daughters, Quinn and Macie. In 2012, Karen completed her Masters in Nursing at DePaul University. Karen is a member of the AVCA, USAV and JVA.
Cassie Rose, Program Director, Elite Program Lead Tra...
- (847) 571-1700
- (847) 571-1700
Cassie grew up in Cary, IL where she competed for Sky High volleyball club and Cary-Grove High School. In high school, she was a three-year varsity starter and played middle from 1999 - 2003. In 2001, she led her team to their first Super Sectional Appearance in the Illinois’ State Tournament. She was named All-Conference, Daily Herald All-Area, Northwest Herald All-Area, Sun Times All-Area and also earned Tribune and News-Gazette All-State honors. Cassie played club volleyball for Sky High Volleyball, out of Crystal Lake, IL where her team ranked in the top 10 nationally throughout her career.
Cassie went on to accept a full-scholarship to play for Florida State University. Cassie begin her collegiate career in 2003 at FSU where she was named ACC Freshman of the Year and voted the East Region’s Freshman of the Year by the AVCA in 2003. In 2003, she recorded 21 double-digit kill performances, had nine straight matches with double-digit kills, posted as season-high 18 kills on three different occasions, led the team and finished in a tie for fourth in the ACC with 44 service aces and also led the team with 360 kills on the season.
After two seasons with the Seminoles, Cassie transferred to Northwestern University in 2005 where she finished out her career and graduated in 2007. In 2005, she finished the year with a .305 hitting percentage, the fourth–best average in Northwestern single-season history. At NU, Cassie helped the Cats to the first second-round appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2006.
From 2008-2009, Cassie played professional volleyball in Kuusamo, Finland. She competed for Paka Lentopallo in the top Finish division. Cassie represented the Great Lakes Region’s professional volleyball team at USA Volleyball Adult Open National Championships in 2011 & 2012.
This will be Cassie’s eigth season with Wildcat Juniors. Last season, Cassie coached 18 Black to an 18th place finish in the Open division at AAU Junior Nationals in Orlando, Florida. In 2014, she led 15 Back to a 20th place finish in the Open division and in 2011, she led her 14 Black team to a 27th place finish in the Open division, highlighted by huge wins over local rivals Sports Performance 14 Elite and Milwaukee Sting 14 Gold.
Cassie started coaching during college at FSU, doing their team camps and all-skills camps. While playing at Northwestern, she coached NU’s team camps in the summers and coached club volleyball for Sky High, both their 13’s & 14’s age groups; she continued to coach at Sky High for five seasons before moving downtown and joining Wildcat Juniors. After college Cassie began coaching for All-American Volleyball camps nationwide with other college and professional volleyball players. These camps would take her coast-to-coast, doing camps anywhere from Florida, to Iowa, to Alaska.
Cassie is lead trainer for our 17's and 18's age groups where she oversees the training and development of our juniors and seniors. She is also the Recruiting Coordinator and assists in our players' recruiting process & journey.
Cassie currently resides with her husband, David Rose, in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Cassie has a Masters Degree of Education in Community Counseling from Loyola University Chicago and a Bachelors Degree from Northwestern University. Cassie enjoys Pilates, cooking, and spending time with her puppy Roy. Cassie is a member of the Northwestern Women's Volleyball Board.
Kirstine Jensen, Youth Programs Director, VolleyKITS, Hea...
- (815) 375-7501
- (815) 375-7501
Kirstine grew up in Aurora, IL where she competed for Sports Performance Volleyball Club and West Aurora High School. She was a four year varsity letter winner and five time USA Volleyball All-American as an outside and middle hitter. Kirstine went on to accept a full scholarship to play for Ohio State University (1992-1995) and legendary coach Jim Stone.
In 1994, Kirstine helped lead OSU to the NCAA Final Four and a Big Ten title. Her career hitting percentage ranks in the top 20 of Buckeye record books. Kirstine completed her degree in speech and hearing sciences, graduating magna cum laude. Kirstine played both outside and right side hitter and was also a four-time scholar athlete for the Buckeyes.
Kirstine entered the collegiate coaching ranks nineteen years ago as an assistant coach at Ohio university where she helped the program to its first ever MAC East Championship in 2000. Between 2002 - 2005, Kirstine served as an assistant coach at Florida State University where she recruited Wildcat Jrs. Program Director, Cassie Rose! Following FSU, Kirstine returned to her Illinois roots where she spent three seasons as the assistant at Northern Illinois University and was promoted to the associate head coach in 2008.
Kirstine headed to Evanston in 2009 as the assistant coach at Northwestern University where she helped lead the Wildcats to their 2nd round NCAA tournament appearance in 2010 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2015. Under Kirstine’s tutelage she has coach seven AVCA All-Americans and one AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year.
Kirstine is heading into her 4th year of coaching with Wildcat Jrs and she serves as the Director of Youth Programming (WildKITS & summer camps). She will be the Lead Trainer for the 12's & 13's age groups as well as the head coach for 12 Black and assistant coach for 13 Black. Last season, Kirstine helped lead 13 Black as they finished 2nd in the 13 Open of the Windy City Power League and earned a bid to the USA Jr. National Championships in the USA division. They finished their season as the #2 ranked 13's team in Illinois.
Kirstine and her husband Tim have a young son, Jaxen and live in Skokie, IL.
Evelyn Kim, Elite Program Lead Trainer, Lessons
- (224) 578-1839
- (224) 578-1839
Evelyn started playing volleyball when she was 11years old in Korea.
- 5 years - Attended Seoul, Korea Athletic Junior and High School, trained by a former Olympic setter, Jung Hye YU (1976 Montreal Olympics).
- 1 year - Artesia High School in California.
- 2 years - Cerritos College in California.
- All conference team, MVP in college, etc (insert other awards that Evelyn claims she cannot remember! )
- 2 years - Illinois State University
- NCAA DIV I. Ranked 12th
- All Conference Team
- Gate Way Conference Champions
- Texas A&M Tourney Champions
- Redbird Classic Champions
- 6 years - Chicago Women's Korea Olympic Volleyball Team
- 4 years - USAV Women Open Division
- 10 years - USAV Women AA/A Division
This is Evelyn's 4th year coaching with Wildcat Jrs. Evelyn has coached 15's and 16's. This will be her first year with the 18's and 13's age groups! Prior to coming to Wildcat Jrs:
- 6 years-Sky High 16's JO head coach
- 6 years-Chicago Women's Korean Olympic Volleyball team
- 3 years-Illinois State University Assistant Graduate Coach
- 5 years-Illinois State University and University of Tennessee summer volleyball counselor
- 12 years- Private lessons with players Junior high through college players
Evelyn was born in Korea raised in Seoul until she was 17 years old, when her family decided move to California. Currently, she resides in Palatine, Illinois with her husband Sung K Yoo (aka, SKY or Master Yoo, as he holds a 9th degree black belt in Taekwondo). Both Evelyn and SKY went to Korea/ Seoul Athletic High School in Korea. They reunited 28 years later in the US and got married 6 years ago :). Currently, Evelyn is working as a teacher at St. Johnberchmans School in Chicago. Evelyn has been teaching for over 20 years.
Cassie Petosky, Elite Program Leader, Lead Trainer, Head...
- (734) 649-4420
- (734) 649-4420
Cassie started playing volleyball in Ann Arbor, Michigan when she was in 7th grade and immediately fell in love with the sport. She was an Ann Arbor Pioneer High School Varsity Team starter her sophomore year on. She earned the Coaches Award during her junior season and was named the MVP her sophomore and senior years. She was a three-time All Conference player.
Cassie played college volleyball at the University of Michigan from 2006 through 2009. During her time at Michigan the Wolverines had four NCAA Tournament Appearances, two Sweet Sixteen Appearances, and one Elite Eight Appearance, which was the best finish in program history. Cassie was a three time Scholar Athlete for the University of Michigan.
Cassie has continued to play recreationally at two USAV Adult National Tournaments as well as locally in beach volleyball tournaments on North Ave.
Cassie has been coaching volleyball since she was 18. She started coaching for MJuniors Volleyball Club out of Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2006, where she stayed for four seasons, coaching 14 through 18 and under teams. She then started coaching for A2 Volleyball Club when the club was founded by the University of Michigan Head Volleyball Coach, Mark Rosen. She coached the 18-1, 15-2, 16-1, and 14-1 teams while coaching for A2.
Cassie also coached the University of Michigan Men’s Club Team for one season from 2010-2011 before she went to pursue her Master’s in Social Work. While earning her Master’s from the University of Michigan from 2011-2013, Cassie was the Varsity Volleyball Coach at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Cassie’s first year coaching the program was also the first year that the high school had four full classes of students. The Skyline Volleyball Team won their home tournament both years under her leadership. They finished as the runner-up in their District during Cassie’s last season with the team.
In 2013, Cassie moved to Delaware where she was the Assistant Coach for the Goldey-Beacom College Women’s Volleyball Team. Goldey-Beacom was a Division 2 school that competed in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. Cassie also coached the 15-1 team at Club Delaware in the spring.
Cassie moved back to the Midwest in the summer of 2014. She is the Volunteer Assistant Coach for the DePaul Women’s Volleyball Team as well as a Middle School Coach at Latin School of Chicago. Cassie coached the 17 Black team in 2015 during her first season with Wildcats.
Cassie lives in Lakeview with her boyfriend, Craig Boller. She enjoys reading, walking along the lake, and playing recreational volleyball.
Toni Alford, Elite Program Lead Trainer, Head Coach
- (773) 505-9270
- (773) 505-9270
Toni spent the first fourteen years of her life in New Orleans, Louisiana where she started playing volleyball at 9 years old. She played on the High School JV team at 12 years old (that's how small her school was). She moved to Evanston at 15 years old (culture shock) and played for Evanston Township High School where she was all-conference 3 years in a row. She played on the first ever Sports Performance 18 Elite Club Volleyball Team and received a full-scholarship to play at Northwestern University. Toni played at Northwestern from 1982-1985. Her team won the Big Ten Championship two years in a row and made the NCAA tournament all four years. Toni is a member of the Northwestern Women's Volleyball Board.
This year is Toni's 10th season coaching at Wildcat Juniors. She has coached the 12s, 13's, 14s, 15s and 18s. This will be her second season as the 13 Black head coach. For the last two seasons, Toni has qualified her team for back to back USA Jr. Nationals. This past season, her team took 25th in the USA division of the 2019 USA Jrs. National Championships.
Toni lives in Evanston, is married and has two kids in college (lucky her). While enjoying her empty nest she keeps herself busy coaching, training for triathlons and rowing in regattas. Toni was an athlete for Team USA at the 2014 Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton, Canada and finished 24th in the World. Toni is passionate about teaching young people how to play volleyball and is excited for another great season!
Craig Boller, Assistant Coach, Co-Elite Program Leader
- (630) 386-5858
- (630) 386-5858
The former Blue Demon volunteer assistant returns to DePaul after stints at Michigan and Delaware, and will be charged with working with the team’s setters, as well as pin attackers and blockers. “Craig started his career here, and since he left he was part of a staff that went to the Final Four at Michigan,” said head coach Nadia Edwards, who enters her fifth season in 2014.
“With my program and Michigan’s program, Craig was in charge of blocking and helped Michigan move up in the Big Ten in blocking statistics – from the bottom to the top. That’s something he brings to the table here, but he’s also worked with setters and a host of other positions. He’s gained a wealth of knowledge in his time away from Depaul, and we’re really excited to have him back.”
He joined Delaware’s staff in April of 2013 and has been recognized as a rising star in the coaching ranks, as he was awarded the AVCA’s 30 Under 30 Award last year. He came to the Blue Hens after serving two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Michigan, which made school history as a 2012 Final Four participant. During his time with the Wolverines, Boller was instrumental with the team’s front-row play and coached AVCA All-American, All-Big Ten selection and single-season block record holder Jennifer Cross, who posted 181 blocks in 2012. He also served as the team’s scouting coordinator. Before leaving DePaul for Michigan, Boller trained Blue Demon outside hitters and passers for a season after wrapping up his collegiate career at Lewis University in nearby Romeoville, Ill.
As a Flyer, Boller was a two-time MIVA Academic All-Conference selection while also earning the Lewis Delahanty Award for academic excellence among student-athletes as a senior. Boller graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and 2010 with a master’s in business administration.
Douglas Han, Head Coach, Lead Trainer, Recruiting Tea...
Douglas Han started his coaching career in 2010 where he served as a volunteer assistant at Northwestern University. Northwestern, a member of the Big Ten Conference had a record season in 2010 which saw the program advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats won 21 matches overall while competing in what many consider to be the best volleyball league in the country. With four wins over top 25 teams (No. 19 Michigan, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 6 Illinois) in the regular season and one in the first round of the NCAAs over No. 20 Arizona.
In 2011, Han joined NAIA member William Woods University, located in Fulton, Mo. As an assistant coach on the Owls' 2012 staff, the program compiled a 21-19 overall record, which included a 12-6 league record and a trip to the conference tournament semifinals. While there, he was heavily involved in the gym and with the team's overall training, especially with the Owl's outside hitters.
2013 is when he joined Division II Michigan Tech University to lead the technical aspects of the game. The primary functions of his role was defensive planning, training the technical aspects of setting, middles and pins overall. Outside of the gym, he led the recruiting efforts which lead to multiple All-American and All-Conference accolades.
Han has worked as a coach for several camps around the country, primarily in the Midwest region. In May of 2013, he attended and participated in a Gold Medal Squared coaching clinic held at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Several current and former U.S. National Team coaches, along with some of college volleyball’s most respected teachers, led the nationally prominent training program.
A Niles, Ill., native, Han graduated with a degree in kinesiology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and played for the Illinois men's club volleyball team. As an outside hitter for Maine East High School in suburban Chicago, Han earned all-state honors his senior season.
Maxie Mottlowitz, Head Coach and Social Media Director
- (847) 702-3361
- (847) 702-3361
Playing Background: My name is Maxie Mottlowitz and I am a former collegiate player from Lake Forest College. I played volleyball since I was in 4th grade and my love for the sport only continued to grow. I am also a Wildcat Jrs. Alumni! My 18's year, our team placed 9th in the 18 Open at the AAU Jr. National Championships. From there knew I wanted to play in college. I was mainly a middle, but also played on the right and outside occasionally. I am proud to say that I was named the Midwest Conference Player of the Week in my career as well as closing out my senior year finishing first in the Midwest Conference for blocks and 72nd in the nation for blocks per set.
Coaching Background: I have been a coach for Wildcat Juniors for 4 years. I started coaching in the15 Premier program my first year and never switched after that. I fell in love with that age group! I also coached while I was in college for Lake Forest College's overnight camp called One Step Closer. On the side, I would also host personal lessons for kids who needed help learning basic volleyball skills. I love watching these kids grow throughout the season as it is a very fulfilling feeling.
Personal Information: I was born and raised in Highland Park, Illinois where my most of my family grew up as well. I have 3 sisters who I am super close with! I played volleyball from grade school through varsity at HP. I went to the University of Missouri for my freshman and sophomore year of college, and then transferred to Lake Forest College where I graduated from. I graduated with a Communication major and a Digital Media Design minor. I was a sports videographer as well as photographer throughout school, which was a passion of mine, aside from being a collegiate athlete. I am currently working for a Marketing company called, David James Group, where I am their Social Media and Video Production Manager. I lalso ove to workout on my free time and research new and upcoming social media news as it changes everyday.
Ryan O'Malley, Beach Coordinator
- (708) 476-6504
- (708) 476-6504
Stephen Reich, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Stephen Reich joined Northwestern as an Assistant Director of Sports Performance in the winter of 2016 and directs baseball, volleyball and wrestling. In addition to directing his teams, Reich is also in charge of the Sports Performance Internship Program and the department's Snapchat/Instagram accounts.
Before Northwestern, Reich was the associate director of strength & conditioning at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He was in charge of the men’s basketball, wrestling, men's/women's track & field, and assisted with football. He was also a graduate assistant on their strength and conditioning staff and graduated May of 2014 with a master's degree in health, exercise, and sport science from The Citadel.
Prior to joining The Citadel in January 2012, Reich spent two years as a strength and conditioning intern at Georgia Tech. He worked directly with the Yellow Jackets’ football and men’s/women’s swimming and diving programs.
Reich received a bachelor's degree in management from Georgia Tech in 2011. He has his Strength & Conditioning Coach Certification (SCCC), is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and obtained a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Performance Coach Certification (USAW).
Taylor Valentine, Head Coach, Premier Program Leader, Recr...
- (269) 806-5275
- (269) 806-5275
- 4-year Varsity letter winner at Portage Central High School
- Nominee for 2010 Michigan Miss Volleyball Award
- AVCA 2010-11 Under Armour Girls High School All America’s Watch List
- Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association first-team All-State selection 2010
- First-team All-State 2009
- Advanced in state tournament to state finals 2009
- All-region, All-District Honors as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior
- Dead Frog Far Out Volleyball Club Alumni
- Placed 3rd at the 2010 AAU Junior National Championships
- Honored as a 2010 AAU National All-American
- Played at Michigan State University from 2011-2014
- All 4 years appeared in the NCAA Tournament
- Contributed to two back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances
- 2013 Spartan Invitational All-Tournament Team
- 2012-2017 Michigan State Summer Camp Coach
- 2015-2016 All-American Volleyball Camp Coach
- 2015 Western Michigan University Summer Camp Coach
- 2015 Spring Dead Frog Far Out 15’s Capital Blue Coach
- 2015 Spring Dead Frog Far Out 14’s Capital White Coach
- 2016 Legacy 16 National Assistant Coach, qualified for JO’s
- 2017 Legacy 16 National Head Coach, placed 5th at Nationals
- 2017 Legacy Position Training Lead Coach
- 2017 Co-Director of Hurricanes Volleyball Club
- Offer Private/Group Lessons
- Graduated Michigan State University with a degree in Hospitality Business.
- New to the area of Chicago, IL but love every second of it.
- Husband is an Assistant Collegiate Men’s Basketball coach at Loyola University
- My family lives in Indianapolis, Indiana and I enjoy traveling to visit them!