An organization can have a great idea, concept or a product, but to see that come to life you need great people to exemplify organizational core principles and values and that is what we have in our amazing EVA coaches!!! We are so proud of our coaches as they are EVA's greatest resource. Our coaches are the ones who are the face of EVA, who believe in our culture of positive coaching and working together to make the meaningful experience for all our athletes. We are proud to have a group of most wonderful, committed and knowledgeable coaches with great integrity, work ethic, and character. We work together to learn from each other, and continuously through the season and the year continue to develop and expand our knowledge.
We are an organization where coaches collaborate and support one another.
If you would like to be a part of our EVA coaching team, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why you coach - because your 'why' is the most important to us and our athletes!
EVA 14 Elite - Alicia Jackson / Tanja Eckart
EVA 15 Elite - Shelby Byrne
EVA 16 Elite - Tanja Eckart
EVA 17 Elite - Paige Gantar
EVA 18 Elite - Markie Alberius
EVA 12 National - Madison Greer
EVA 13 National - Becca Niedzdwiedz
EVA 14 National - Taylor Sherrill
EVA 15 National - Charlotte Torres
EVA 16 National - Victoria Barnhill
REGIONAL PLUS level
13 Navy - Sawyer Gibbons
14 Navy - Mikaela Taylor
14 White - Coral Davis
15 Navy - Savannah Jacoby/Karson Langel
15 White - Kersten Jackson
16 Navy - Rachel Fisher / Allie Anderson
17 White - Riley Lyman
11 Regional - Val Kauffman
12 Navy - Brianna McAfee
13 White - Abigail Herman
13 Grey - Mary Herman
LOCAL PLUS level
10 Navy - Christie Elliot / Emerson Leach
11 Navy - Tabatha Sutton
11 White - Marianna Leitte / Enaiyah Thompson
12 White - Alexis Clouser
12 Grey - Haley Howard
Additional EVA coaches who will be involved in helping teams in practices and games:
Michael Thorpe Johnson
Head Coach - EVA 16 Elite & Co Head Coach - EVA 14 Elite
In the sixth season of EVA, Eckart's teams reached USAV Nationals podium with two teams medaling. Bronze medal for EVA 14 Elite in 14 Freedom and bronze medal for EVA 17 Elite in 17 Freedom at the USAV Nationals in Chicago.
Tanja Eckart is a 2012 UA Little Rock Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee and is the only volleyball player in the school history to receive this honor.
The most recent coaching recognition for Eckart was being named American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2020 16’s Coach of the Year. This is a special award because it is on the national level among all clubs in the nation. Eckart won this award while leading her 2020/21 EVA 16 National Team to 22-8 season.
Coach Eckart’s college coaching experience includes seven years of Division I coaching; four years as an assistant at UALR and three years as an assistant at Florida International University. In these roles as NCAA division I assistant, she had the opportunity to serve as a recruiter which provided her with the knowledge of what coaches are looking for in recruits to give her experience to guide players today in their recruiting process. Along with recruiting process knowledge she has many connections with coaches currently at different levels from junior colleges to four year universities at different divisions.
She also has 25 years of coaching club level experience (6U - 18U) at various clubs: Little Rock Juniors, South Florida VB, Miami Elite and her own Elite Volleyball Academy.
Alongside running Eckart VB, skills & player development trainings, clinics and camps for the past eight years, in the fall of 2017 Eckart formed Elite Volleyball Academy. EVA in it's inaugural season had three teams (12's, 14's and 15's). All three teams enjoyed a lot of success which Eckart contributes to the coaching philosophy and principles implemented to create hard-working and positive environment paired with quality of training and knowledgeable coaches provided at EVA. In the second season EVA served seven teams and the biggest success was achieved by EVA 15 National team lead by Eckart as they reached their goal and qualified for the Junior National Championship in Indianapolis. EVA looks to continue to grow slowly and methodically to continue to be the leader in quality of service provided. In 2020/21 season Eckart's EVA 16 National team won ASICS Show Me national qualifier and earned a bid for 16 USA for USA National Championship held in Las Vegas. That was a huge achievement as it was the first time that team from central Arkansas won a national qualifier in USA division.
Coach Eckart has over 20 years of experience coaching summer volleyball camps at various universities across the nation including UALR, FIU, the University of Florida, the University of Miami and Miami Dade College. Additionally, she has 17 years of experience of personally organizing and running camps including three years of university camps at FIU as well as eight years of experience running “Eckart VB Camps” which include Little Spikers, Pass.Set.Hit., Volley Jams, and Elite VB Camps. Upon her return from Miami to Little Rock coach Eckart saw the need for beginners volleyball programs and started and lead Future Stars for five years. Since its inception in 2013, the program has had much success exposing hundreds of young players, ages 7-12, to the wonderful sport of volleyball and changing the culture in central AR of when young players get involved in volleyball. For many players it use to mean 7th grade when they had an opportunity to play on a school team, but with program like Future Starts players had a way of learning the skill and the game as young as 1st grade. Consequently with beginners programs, the growth of interest in volleyball and a younger age when players got involved, many schools caught on and started offering volleyball beginning in the 5th grade.
As a player, Tanja played four years for UALR (1997-2000) and won many individual and team awards including Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the year (1997); Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year (2000); three-time All-Sun Belt Tournament Selection (1998, 1999, 2000); and was the only player in UALR school history picked four times to 1st All-Conference Team (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000). In her four years on campus, the team had three NCAA Tournament Appearances, captured three Sun Belt Conference Tournament Titles (1997, 1998, 2000) and three Sun Belt Conference Regular Season Titles (1997, 1999, 2000). As she finished her collegiate career she held many school records including UALR all-time leader in kills (1,710) – a record that stood for 14 years, UALR career leader in hitting attempts (4,211) – 21 years later 2nd on the career list, UALR career leader in service aces (222) – currently still holding the record and UALR career leader in digs (1,156) – currently 5th on all time list.
In 2005, Eckart was the only UALR vb player named to the All-Time Sun Belt Volleyball team as part of the league's 30th anniversary celebration.
After graduating in 2001, she was part of the United States Professional Volleyball (USPV) league selected through tryout phase in which she was one in total of 11 players picked among 120 to play professional volleyball for USPV. The league had four teams which were comprised of nation's top VB players and 11 picked from the tryout phase. Tanja was drafted by Chicago Thunder and had the opportunity to practice and play among nations top players including teammates like Jennifer Kessy, 2012 USA Olympic Silver Medalist in Beach Volleyball, Penn State standouts Terri Zemaitis-Boumans and Bonnie Bremner to name just few but the league consisted of players who played for the top vb programs in the nation (USC, UCLA, Penn State, Stanford,..) and many went on to represent USA in the Olympics like Lindsey Berg in indoor and Jennifer Kessy and Nicole Branagh in beach volleyball.
Over the years Tanja continued to participate as a player in many USA Open National Championships in various cities (Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando, Austin) -2007 being the most memorable as the team won gold in A division. Over the last 10 years Eckart also played in countless sand volleyball tournaments especially while living in Miami , Florida for 8 years. Playing sand volleyball is still today her favorite activity.
Eckart, Croatia native, graduated with a Bachelor of Business with emphasis in Management from UALR in 2001 and with a Masters in Business Administration in 2004 also from UALR. She is married to John Eckart since July of 2004 and the couple has two sons Filip (15 yo) and Daniel (11 yo).
Coach Dani has been instrumental in EVA's development from its start in 2017/18 season. She has been in a role of a Master coach helping onboard new coaches and provide help and guidance to all the young coaches joining the program.
Coach Dani has been named the Head Varsity Coach for Pulaski Academy and is in her first season leading the Bruins.
Coach Dani is a former UALR player. She is originally from Cuiaba-MT, Brazil. There she played for Finasa Osasco for four years and for Sacramento, Minas Gerais for one year. In 2004 while playing for Sacramento, she and her team won Minas Gerais regional and All-State. In 2005 and 2007, when she played for Finasa Osasco her team won All-State and regional championship, and took second place at All-State and Regional championship in 2006 and 2008.
2020/21 season coach Dani was a Head Volleyball Coach at Pulaski Academy for 9th grade while she helps with 7-8th grade team and assists in JV/Varsity. Her 9th grade team went undefeated and won a conference. She step back from the program to take care of her newborn baby Ayla.
Coach Daniele Moura came to the United States in 2009 to play college volleyball for University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She played four years for UALR (2009-2012). In 2012, she helped lead her team to their first Sun Belt Conference Division Title since 2000. She was an original DS/Libero player. However, she was able to play several positions when they needed her (outside hitter, middle blocker and setter). She also helped her team earn Student Athlete with a GPA of 3.00 in 2011 and 2012. She graduated with a bachelor of International Business with emphasis in Spanish language. She started her Masters in Sports management, and completed 2 years, but she had to stop due to her pregnancy. She looks forward to go back to school and finish her Master’s degree.
Coach Daniele Moura is also known by Dani. She got that nickname since she was a little girl. Coach Dani has been coaching for total of 12 years. In 2014, she was a graduate assistant for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for the volleyball team. She coached five years for Little Rock Juniors club on different age groups (12-17 years old). Prior to accepting the position with Pulaski Academy, Dani has been coaching for Baptist Prep for the last three years. She also offers indoor private lessons and beach volleyball lessons. She has been working with Eckart Volleyball for 6 years and coached countless skills clinics and summer camps. She started coaching for EVA when first was created it in 2017. She is going to her 3nd year coaching for EVA. This past season 2018/19, Dani was a head coach for EVA 15 Regional Team which ended up ranked 7th in the entire Delta Region out of 80 teams.
As a juniors club coach, she has coached/trained so many girls over the past years and some of them have achieved very important goals. One of them got qualified on the High Performance to play USA juniors summer program. Coach Dani is Beach CAP I certified coach.
Coach Dani is married to Doca and has two daughters: Elisa (5) and Ayla (2yo).
Markie starting her fifth year as EVA's highest level coach. She has a wealth of knowledge of the high level volleyball systems and is a perfect fit for high level teams along with her excitable and positive coaching style.
Markie was named Head Varsity Coach for the historic Central High School in the spring of 2021 and in the short time transformed the program with her focus on skill improvement and changing the culture. In her first season already Central has won more matches than Central teams combined in the last seven seasons. In her first season she lead the Tigers to their first State Championship tournament after close to twenty years of drought.
Markie played for Arkansas State University and graduated with Occupational Therapy degree. After getting her undergraduate degree she served as a student assistant coach for the A-State volleyball program on 2017-2018 while obtaining her Masters in OT.
During her time with Red Wolves' she was working with defensive specialists and liberos. The team averaged 15.42 digs per set.
A native of Little Rock, Ark., Schaedig helped coach the team's back row and libero, the position she excelled at for the last three seasons at A-State. She was the program's first All-American with Honorable Mention honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in 2014 and claimed the accolade once again to become the Red Wolves' first two-time All-American.
Additionally, Alberius was a three-time Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year from 2014-16 and was First-Team All-SBC all three of those seasons. She garnered AVCA All-Southwest Region accolades from 2014-16 and finished with the third most digs in school history with 2,153 during her four-year career. She set the school record for digs in a season in 2014 with 762 and led the nation with a 6.68 per set mark.
Markie played for Little Rock Christian Academy as four time varsity player and led LRCA to the 5A state championship match in her junior and senior seasons. She was named All-Conference, All-State, and All-State Tournament all four years of high school career. She was elected as one of the top 25 volleyball players in the state of Arkansas after freshman season.
Coach Paige Gantar is 2022 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 16's Club Coach of the Year! We are so extremely proud of coach Paige and all that the pours in to build EVA and all the athletes.
Paige is in her fourth season as a Head Varsity Coach at Episcopal Collegiate School (ESC) and Lower School Physical Education teacher, seventh season as EVA Head Coach, and 13th season of coaching all together. Paige took over ECS Varsity Volleyball in the summer of 2020 and has transformed it past the recognition. ECS Varsity finished the 2022 season as a runner up. 2021 season the Wild Cats were 3A Conference Champions while Coach Paige was named Conference Coach of the Year. Paige also received a huge recognition from AVCA by being name to the AVCA 30 Under 30 List.
Paige has been coaching club for the last twelve seasons. She is returning to her sixth season with EVA as the coach for the highest level team. She graduated from Mount Carmel Academy, in New Orleans, LA, where she was part of the All-Star Team in 2009. She received a full athletic scholarship to the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (2009-2011), graduating in 2012 with a bachelors in Health Science. While at UALR, Paige was named Mississippi State's All Tournament player, Memphis University's All Tournament player and attended the Sunbelt Conference tournament every year. She finished her senior year at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and led her team to an undefeated season (21-0) finishing as Southland Conference Champions and holding the overall highest hitting percentage as a middle blocker. She graduated from UCA with a Masters of Science in Health Science in 2015. During her time at both UALR and UCA, Paige was awarded with the Sunbelt Conference Academic Honor Roll, the Southland Academic Honor Roll, Deans List and Chancellors List.
Prior to joining EVA six years ago, Paige was a head coach for Little Rock Juniors (10U-12); Arkansas Eagles (independent club 16s), and NOLA Volleyball (13s & 14s).
In 2018/19 season Paige was the Head coach for EVA 13 Regional team and led them to an impressive 4th overall rank in the Delta Region out of 97 teams in 13U age group. Last club season 2019/20, was cut short due to COVID-19, but Coach Paige's 13's regional team was showing incredible amount of growth and improvement in what turned out to be a short season for all. In 2020/21 season, Paige led EVA 14 National team to 46th placement at USA Junior National Championship in the National division. In 2021/22 season Paige lead 16 Elite team and won three tournaments while playing in an age group up.
We are extremely proud to see coach Paige continue to excel in professional career as we see her growth over the years and how she "arrived" at coaching philosophy that perfectly aligns with EVA culture.
Coach Alicia enters her sixth season of coaching for EVA. She has spend the last four seasons developing young athletes from the ground up serving as the head coach for our 12-14u teams. She has a great leadership skill along with knowledge of transition and systems so are thrilled to add her to our elite level teams while keeping in the development age group. She has a perfect balance of strong leadership to keep the skill and team development and a nurturing side so she has been excelling and putting a great stamp on EVA athletes. Alicia has been one of the cornerstone coaches in developing EVA culture to what it is today.
In 2020/21 season she was the head coach for 13 Regional Plus team which went on to have one of the most impressive and successful seasons in the club with three tournament champion titles in a row. Last season her 14 Elite team suffered a great deal of unforeseen challenges with major injuries that took several players for the great majority of the season and a season ending injury.
Alicia was born and raised in Arkansas. She was introduced to volleyball at the age of 12 and quickly fell in love with the sport. She has a true passion for the game and the impact it has had on her life. Her relationship with her own high school coach showed her first-hand the impact a positive, involved coach can have in the lives of their players and she models her coaching style after this example.
She has been playing volleyball for 26 years. She played 7 years in school and 6 years of Club volleyball as a middle hitter and setter. She graduated from Sheridan High School where she was awarded multiple All-Conference and All-State honors. She capped off her high school career being named to the Arkansas All-Star Team in 1999 where she was awarded the All-Star MVP title. She was awarded a scholarship to the University of Central Arkansas where she started as a freshman.
There she earned her Bachelor’s of Speech Communications – Public Relations that she took with her to Los Angeles to work in Entertainment PR following graduation. She eventually returned home to be closer to her family and began coaching Club volleyball while she completed her Masters in Management degree.
Alicia currently works at PerfectVision Manufacturing Inc. as a Vice President . She married her husband, Joshua in 2013 and they had their daughter Olivia in 2015. Her love of the game motivates her to incorporate volleyball in her life despite her busy schedule and she is thrilled to return to another season with Elite Volleyball Academy.
In previous EVA seasons, Coach Alicia was EVA 12 Regional team Head coach for the season 2018/19 and they placed overall 12th in the Delta Region ranking out of 73 team. 2019/20 season was cut short due to COVID-19 pandemic but the most memorable accomplishment for coach Alicia's 13 Regional Plus team was winning President's Day Classis in St. Louis coming with a tournament trophy in 13 club division.
Coach Shelby is coming back to EVA for the fifth season. Last year she was in Master Coach role only as the spend the part of the season on the maternity leave as her and her husband Travis welcomed baby baby girl Juniper in December of 2022. She always has served as EVA resource from the mentoring side as she has her degree and job in sports counseling.
In previous season besides indoor coaching, Shelby was also part of 2020 EVA Beach Academy as the lead coach in July session. She gained knowledge of the beach game as she competed on UCA beach program for a season upon graduating from ASU.
Shelby's educational background in Psychology and Mental Health Counseling was a huge addition to our program as she held Mini Seminars for EVA players with different topics in our effort to build complete players. Shelby held few mini seminars on topics of grit, resilience, overcoming disappointment and adversity before the season got cut short due to COVID-19.
Shelby is currently a Counselor at UCA and is doing mental health and wellness advocacy for UCA athletes.
Shelby played for Arkansas State University and graduated with a degree in Psychology. After her undergraduate degree she went to the University of Central Arkansas to pursue her masters in Mental Health Counseling and finish out her NCAA eligibility in a season of Beach Volleyball. She graduates in December and hopes to become a licensed therapist quickly upon graduation. Shelby has a particular interest in working with athletes and studying sports and performance psychology.
During her time at Arkansas State, Shelby primarily played outside and right side. She honors from the Dean’s List and the SBC Academic Honor Roll several years. She ended her senior season with 99 kills for a 1.98 per set average on a .230 hitting percentage, recorded 26 total blocks with three block solos, and picked up 15 digs along with two assists.
In high school, Shelby was a four year starter at Free State High School in Lawrence, Kansas and was voted team captain for senior season. She was named to All-Area team for all four seasons of high school career, earned All-State honors during senior season, set the school record for kills in a season with 325, was a three-time medalist in USA Volleyball national qualifiers, was selected to the Kansas Volleyball Association All-Academic Team twice, and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Allie has been part of EVA staff for 4 years now in various roles. Last year she helped provide additional coaching for several national level teams and she has worked on player/skill development over the course of the year. Allie will serve as a master coach this year again to provide that guidance for the new EVA coaches and helping them use EVA skill language along with practice planning and time/player utilizing.
Prior to head coaching at EVA Allie spending spring and summer of 2019 helping EVA 15 National team prepare for the Junior National Championships in Indianapolis. Following that Allie was a part of 2020 EVA Beach Academy. Season 2020/21 Allie was head coach for 17 Regional Plus team and then last season spent as a master coach helping various EVA teams and working as skill development coach.
Allie played and started at Bryant all three years of varsity and all four years at AR Tech. While at ATU, Allie was two times All-GAC honorable mention, All-GAC second team, 2018 GAC regular season and conference champs. She graduated in May of 2020 with BS Business Administration Management & Marketing. She has four years of club coaching in team setting along with private coaching experience.
Charlotte is joining Elite Volleyball Academy for the first time. She is currently the assistant coach for Little Rock Christian Academy varsity volleyball team where she is coaching for her eighth year. During her time on the Little Rock Christian volleyball staff she has won multiple Conference Championships as the head coach for the freshman team and helped to lead the Warriors to a State Championship in 2021.
Charlotte grew up in Benton, and was a part of their inaugural volleyball team in 2002. She joined the team without any knowledge of the game and by the end of her senior year she helped to lead Benton to their first conference championship as a setter /outside hitter and was named all-conference in 2006. She had her start in coaching, helping in camps and serving as a volunteer for the program after graduating from Arkansas Tech University in 2010.
She later served as a coach and director for a local club offering more young women the opportunity to play in Saline County. In her years as director Charlotte helped to grow the club from serving 20 to over 70 young women. Over her 6 years with the club she coached one to two teams per year, while her elite level teams would go on to win multiple gold bracket championships.
In 2017 Charlotte stepped away from coaching club volleyball after she and her husband had their twin boys (Charles and Cooper) who have just started kindergarten. She is excited to get back into the world of club volleyball and offer her talents to more of the young women in central Arkansas
Charlotte prides herself on her ability to hold her players to high standards while consistently reassessing player strengths/weaknesses. She values player/coach relationships and finds a strong relationship creates room for honest feedback and player development. She believes when a player truly believes their coach wants the best for them they find the freedom to perform their best and grow into their full potential.
Charlotte’s ability to analyze statistics and game trends to zero in on a team and players’ biggest opportunities for growth has been a great asset to Little Rock Christian’s volleyball program over the last 8 years. While coaching for Little Rock Christian she also serves as an honors algebra teacher and loves using the same skills she uses to teach her students math to help communicate volleyball skills/corrections in different ways for her players.
Becca is returning to EVA for the 4th season after a season with EVA 14 Elite, coached alongside coach Eckart, a team who won a bronze medal at USAV Nationals in Chicago! This was the first medal at Nationals for EVA and any central AR team. Becca brings a wealth of knowledge as she has 8 years of coaching experience paired with the best personality that gets players excited about volleyball and brings joy to all around her!
Becca is Pulaski Academy Junior High Head Coach and Varsity Assistant Coach. Under her leadership both 8th and 9th grades were Conference Champions and as well as Varsity where she assists under coach Dani Moura.
She has been involved in volleyball for as long as she can remember. She played for Mount St. Mary Academy for four years and went on to compete at Henderson State University upon highs school graduation. After playing her freshman year at HSU, Becca changed over to cross country and became volleyball manager at the same time. Her love for volleyball was nurtured through four years of coaching Eckart Volleyball summer camps and waiting for the day to get into club volleyball knowing that this sport has her heart. Becca was coaching four years of Little Spikers and Pass.Set.Hit. camps where she was focusing on teaching skill fundamentals along with game for the young players. Teaching base-to-release has become a staple of hers.
Becca graduated from HSU with Bachelors in Sports Management and Masters in Sports Administration..
When asked about some of the most memorable things from volleyball playing days Becca quickly remembers getting her first block as 5'5" player but follows it with priceless bonds and relationships made over the years as the best part of her volleyball career. Becca is successfully competing on HSU cross country team and recently broke her PR on 5K running it below 22 min. Becca is another player who made a huge impact on Coach Eckart during their training days and made long lasting relationships through coaching camps together for four consecutive summers. We are most proud of Becca as she is one of the huge volleyball enthusiasts who bring bubbly personality to the gym each day.
Coach Madison is in her fourth season after yet another season breaking leadership with her EVA 12 National team that finished 5th in the nation at AAU Nationals in Orlando. This team was so extremely competitive and successful that it played in the 7 finals out of 9 tournaments the entire season. Season 2020/22 Madison coached EVA 14 Regional Plus Navy won 3 tournaments and got Gold bracket championship at Ozark Challenge, Mississippi Mayhem, and Volley in the Rock.
Coach Madison was also involved in coaching EVA Beach Academy and she works as private/semi-private coach on skill development. We are really excited to see what Madison continues to do with her positive coaching outlook, contagious energy, and player development skills.
Madison Greer began her volleyball career in the 5th grade at the age of 11. She played varsity for Mount Saint Mary Academy (7A Division) from 2010-2014 as a defensive specialist/Libero (DS/L). Every year, she led her team to the state tournament. Madison played for Little Rock Juniors Volleyball Club for 6 years, 2 of those years were spent on a nationals team.
She received a full scholarship to play volleyball at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, AL. She played there for one year and transferred to further her volleyball career at an NAIA college in Ottawa, Kansas, where she played at Ottawa University her sophomore and half of junior year.
After her fall semester of junior year at Ottawa University, she transferred to UCA to focus on her studies. In December 2018, she graduated from UCA with a Bachelor’s of Biology in Health Science. Madison is currently attending UALR Nursing School.
Madison has coached five seasons of club volleyball. Her first coaching assignment was with a group of 10 year olds at Performance Volleyball Academy in Overland Park, Kansas. The next two seasons were spent coaching 13 & 14 year olds for LRJ.
Madison is very excited to coach her sixth year and continue her journey with EVA. She fully loves EVA coaching philosophy and being part of the coaching environment where growth and learning are encouraged.
Victoria is Junior High 7th grade Coach at Episcopal Collegiate School (ESC). She has been coaching club for EVA the last three season and is returning for her fourth season once again in the role of a national level head coach coach. Victoria's coaching style is a great balance of high expectation and hype energy for her team. She has a great game and skill knowledge along with great team leadership abilities.
Victoria played and started at Cabot all three years from 2012-2015. She went on to play at Ouachita Baptist University. While at OBU, Victoria and her team won the GAC conference tournament in 2016. The fondest memory from the championship is that she hit perfect hitting percentage (very, very rare in volleyball). She also has coaching experience in a local club in Arkadelphia where she coached 14U team.
Victoria graduated in May of 2020 with a BA in Biology with a minor in Psychology. Victoria is currently receiving her Doctor of Occupational Therapy at UCA.
Taylor is entering her second season with EVA, but seventh season overall coaching club. The 2022-2023 season brought success and learning at the 16s level. 16 - Navy ended top 15 of 87 teams in the Delta Region. Recording 26 wins and 7 losses overall for the season, taking a second place, multiple third places and a fifth place in various tournaments.
Taylor played her high school career at Central Arkansas Christian (2007- 2010) as a setter, utility player earning an All Conference Honor her senior year. During club seasons she played with Little Rock Juniors (16s/18s) as a libero/DS and Fatchmo Volley (18s) as a libero. She went on to play a season with Harding University Bison (DII) as a DS before pursuing other interests. She has coached a variety of ages over the years. Taylor started her school coaching career as Head Junior Varsity and Assistant Varsity coach for Central Arkansas Christian Schools in North Little Rock for the last four years. She is currently the Head 7th Grade Coach at Little Rock Christian Academy.
Coach Riley is entering her first year coaching with EVA with a wealth of coaching knowledge and experience of 8+ including college coaching.
Riley is originally from southern Utah. As a high school athlete she was named the Utah High School Female Athlete of the Year in 2015. She played at Snow College as an underclassmen where she helped her team win the Conference Regular Season. She was named the Conference Player of the Year as well as NJCAA and AVCA All-American. She transferred to BYU where she was a part of the 2018 NCAA Tournament Final Four team and 2019 NCAA Tournament Second-Round team.
Riley coached one year as the First Assistant at Utah Tech University before moving to Little Rock. Her and her sister are co-owners of Lyman Volleyball Camps where she teaches individual skills as well as team offense and defense. She has been coaching for 8+ years and we are excited to add her to our great staff.
We are thrilled to add Alexis to EVA coaching staff as she has been one of the players during her high school years who trained with coach Eckart so the relationship with EVA continues now in the coaching role. Alexis has been involved in the volleyball world for quite a while. She is a Little Rock native who attended Baptist Prep Middle & High School. Alexis was one of the volleyball program founders, starting her 7th grade year, which was the first year Baptist Prep offered volleyball for any age. She played as the libero for both her school and club teams, where she had the ability to compete nationally during the club season and travel across the state of Arkansas for school volleyball.
Her senior year of high school, Alexis helped lead her team to the state championship for the first time in program history. She was nominated for All-Conference, All-State, and All-Tournament during her four years on Varsity (2014-2018). After her senior year, she accepted an academic scholarship to the University of Alabama, but still prioritized volleyball by playing for Alabama’s large intermural program on both all-girls and co-ed teams. Alexis is currently working in Arkansas while pursuing her masters degree in public health at UAMS. She spent her college years teaching yoga and spin class, so she is not new to coaching athletics, but she is looking forward to her first year as a volleyball coach. Alexis is excited to encourage young athletes to work hard and be passionate in all they do this year at EVA.
Hannah will serve as 16 Navy Assistant Coach while Taylor will be Helper Coach!
Both coaches have been involved with EVA for 4 seasons.
Hannah is a Sherwood, Arkansas, native with five years of high school volleyball experience, three years of club volleyball play, and 12 years of recreational competition. At 5'11, positions played have included both middle and right side hitter. Hannah graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, in 2011 and a Master of Business Administration degree in management and business ethics in 2016 also from Harding.
She currently serves as the director of digital media for Harding University. She is married to Taylor Owens, with whom she frequently plays volleyball, and lives in Sherwood.
Hannah served as floater coach during the season 2018/19 and helped several teams in their practice development but spent most of her coaching time with EVA 12 Regional Team which was ranked 12th overall in Delta Region our of 73 teams. Taylor joined mid season as a volunteer coach and rediscovered the joy for coaching alongside his wife.
Taylor first started playing recreational volleyball in college at Harding University. After competing on men’s and co-ed intramural teams at Harding, he continued to pursue volleyball in local indoor, grass and sand tournaments and leagues around central Arkansas.
Taylor graduated from Harding University with a Bachelor's degree in accounting. He has been working in the accounting department at Dillard's since 2017.
We are thrilled to have Hannah and Taylor return as a c0-head coaches to the EVA staff and lead our regional 12U team.
We are excited to welcome Tabatha to EVA coaching staff. She started coaching club volleyball in 2016 where she was the head coach of a local team in Central Arkansas. Tabatha started playing club volleyball in fourth grade. She played and started all four years on varsity at Richland High School (TX). She also played beach and indoor club volleyball in the DFW metroplex. Tabatha played college volleyball at Ouachita Baptist University from 2016-2020. During her time at OBU, she was awarded GAC all-tournament team player 2016 and GAC conference champs 2016. She graduated in May of 2020 with a BS in Nutrition & Dietetics and later completed her master’s degree in nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. Tabatha is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and enjoys sports nutrition and aiding athletes in reaching their performance goals.
Mikaela Taylors is returning for the third season of coaching at EVA. This season she will work with our navy regional plus team and upon their season finish will join to help EVA 14 National with Coach Taylor Sherrill.
Mikaela started playing competitive volleyball in the 6th grade in Mansfield, Texas at Mary Orr Intermediate. She continued to play in high school as a setter for two Varsity-letter seasons at Mansfield High school. The team was competitive in there 6A district as they were bi-district champs, regional champs, and earned the all district academic award.
Mikaela played Club in North Texas starting at age 12 through 18s at the national level. Following club and high school, Mikaela entered the Volleyball program at Henderson state University where she was a setter. She played for the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons. Mikaela was also a member at FCA as a volleyball sponsor for 3 years and SGA as the school of business representative for 2 years.
After graduating from Henderson with a degree in bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and management in 3 years, She became a Graduate assistant for the school of business and continued to help out with the volleyballs team practices and games. Mikaela graduated this past May with her MBA and is now working at Dillard's at the corporate office as Assistant Buyer.
In her spare time she enjoys traveling, hiking, going to different coffee shops, and of course playing volleyball!
Coral is returning to EVA for the 4th season and brings a lot of coaching experience to work on skill and game development with our 14's this season. She is currently on volleyball coaching staff at historic Little Rock Central Hight School where her primary assignment is 9th grade Head Coach while assisting with JV and Varsity. She has coached volleyball at Little Rock Central for 7 years and helped to introduce the use of a 9th grade volleyball team 6 years ago. She has also been volunteering for many years, coaching 5th through 12th graders in her hometown’s basketball league, where she developed her love of sports. Coral grew up playing many sports: basketball, volleyball, and track and field. She was a member of her high school’s basketball team, helping them reach the first round of the state tournament for the first time in many years. She is a mathematics teacher at Central HS.
After high school she attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as a Donaghey Scholar to receive her Bachelors in Math in 2016 and in 2019 she received her masters from Arkansas State University in Educational Theory. Coral is also currently working on a second graduate degree in math at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Coach Rachel is going into her 6th year of coaching club and 2nd year coaching at Episcopal Collegiate School to assist with the varsity and junior varsity volleyball program. She is returning for her 4th season to EVA.
She will spend regular season with EVA 16 Navy and once the regional season ends she will join to assist with EVA 16 Elite under Tanja Eckart.
Rachel started playing volleyball in the 6th grade at age 11. Her 9th grade year she was the libero for the varsity team at Mills High School (5A Conference) as well as the setter for the 9th grade. She would continue to be the setter for the school and help lead each team to win their Conference Championships (2005-2009).
During her club volleyball career she played as a Defensive Specialist/Libero. Upon graduating she was offered a half bowling and half volleyball scholarship to Grambling University. After some changes in the staffing at Grambling she accepted a bowling and academic scholarship to Texas Southern University (she has been bowling since she was 7). Upon transferring back home to Arkansas she would return to Mills and help train the current teams during the off seasons.
She continues to look forward to returning to the EVA staff, sharing her love for the sport of volleyball and increasing her knowledge of the game.
She is currently an Assistant Property Manager for a real estate company and has one daughter named Raiyne.
We are excited to add Abigail Herman to return to EVA coaching staff for the 4th season. She has spent last 3 seasons leading our top 11s team while also helping with older teams in the post season. Abigail's first year team 20/21 competed locally in an age group up and excelled in learning the skill and the game under coach Abigail's excitable leadership. Coach Abigail's team finished the season being crowned champion of Power League Championship. Season 21/22 Abigail’s team competed regionally and won 3 out of their 6 tournaments including the Delta Regional Championship and got second in a tournament playing up in 12s.
Abigail has been an avid volleyball player since the 8th grade. Coach Eckart has been a part of Abigail's development during her school and club participation days so it's a joy to see the full circle from player to Coach. Abigail played for the Little Rock Flames as a defensive specialist (DS) and an outside/ right side hitter. It was with the Flames that she became a National Champion. During the club season, she played for 501 Volley as an outside/right side hitter as well as a DS. Her senior year she was captain of her school and club team and led them to a successful season.
When Abigail is not playing indoors, you can find her playing sand volleyball. She is known for her fierce competitiveness alongside building up and encouraging those around her. Abigail is a leader on and off the court. Since the beginning of her volleyball career, she has enjoyed the teamwork, competitiveness and challenges of the game.
Abigail uses her energy and enthusiasm to encourage her athletes to do their best to learn the game, create a positive team culture, be good teammates and above all, love and enjoy volleyball. Abigail is excited to return to EVA and continue to pass on her love of the game.
Mary Herman is excited to be entering her second season with EVA. Mary is also in her first season as the 7th grade coach at Episcopal Collegiate School. She has trained with Coach Eckart and Coach Paige Gantar doing summer camps for the last two summers, as well as doing private coaching.
Mary received several offers to play collegiate volleyball, but chose to focus on academics, graduating from U of A Community College in Morrilton with an Associates degree.
Mary has played school volleyball as a setter since she was 11 years old, receiving several awards with her school team, the Little Rock Flames, and helping to lead them to several successful seasons. She also played club volleyball for four years while in high school as a setter.
Mary loves being a coach and seeing the impact coaches can have on young athletes. Mary loves encouraging and cheering on athletes while still holding them accountable and to a high standard. She is excitable, dedicated, and always looking for new opportunities to grow.
Coach Bri is going into her 2nd year coaching at EVA. Currently, she is coaching at Episcopal Collegiate School as one of the 7th grade coaches and enjoys continuing to build on under Paige Gantar, head Varsity coach at ECS and several other EVA coaches (Rachel Fisher and Victoria Barnhill).
Coach Bri is a two time All American at Hot Springs High School. She led the team to State for the first time ever in 2013. She started playing volleyball at 16 and quickly fell in love with the game and made a huge impact on her high school team. She played an outside hitter and continued to love and enjoy the game past the high school as she was involved in adult play.
Bri attended Henderson State University where she majored in athletic training and then sports management with a minor in business. During that time at HSU, she worked closely with the volleyball team.
Currently, Bri works at PerfectVision Manufacturing Inc. as Operations Admin. Bri loves the game and is looking forward to going into her 2nd year in coaching as it has always been her passion to coach kids and watch them grow to their full potential.
She has a 5yr old daughter whom she hopes to grow up with a deep love for the game as she has.
Valerie is returning to EVA for her third year after a great season as an 11s and 12s Helper Coach, on-boarding new 11s and 12s coaches and teaching them EVA principles of training and culture. Coach Val has been an integral part of skill development with small group work outside of teams.
Valerie has been around volleyball for as long as she can remember. After attending every volleyball practice and game of her older sister, she was finally able to compete in the 5th grade. From ages 13-17, Valerie played for Code Blue and Little Rock Juniors, where she learned and refined her volleyball skills. In high school, Valerie played for Mount St. Mary Academy for four years, and was a varsity starter for three. During this time, she received All-Conference and All-State honors, as well as being nominated as the team captain. In high school, Valerie trained under coach Eckart so now they are back to full circle of player-coach to coach-coach relationship.
In college, Valerie ultimately decided to focus on her studies, earning a BA in both Political Science and Writing & Rhetoric from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. She played club volleyball at her school for all four years. Currently, Valerie is a second-year law student at Bowen School of Law here in Little Rock.
For several years, Valerie played volleyball, basketball, golf, and track and field. During her time as an athlete, she was considered to be a fierce competitor whose positivity and drive were contagious to those around her. Valerie is incredibly excited to begin her third year of club volleyball coaching, and knows that she will pour that same energy into the girls she coaches and mentors. She is excited to share her knowledge and love of volleyball, and knows what it takes to cultivate a hardworking and positive team culture.
Meet Coach Christie, the newest addition to the EVA coaching staff. Growing up with six older sisters who played volleyball, it was natural for her to develop a love for the sport. By age 10, she was already playing JO volleyball and setting the stage for her future in the game.
During her high school years at Little Rock Christian, Christie was a key player on the varsity team for three years and served as captain each season. Her hard work paid off, earning her two all-conference and two all-state honors.
After high school, Christie headed to the University of Arkansas to earn a bachelor's degree in history. But she never put volleyball on the back burner, staying active in intramural leagues throughout college.
Now at EVA, Christie brings a solid combination of volleyball know-how and leadership experience. Her focus is on player development, informed by both her on-court history and her academic background. It's clear that her commitment to the sport has been a lifelong journey, one she's eager to continue here at EVA.
Emerson Leach is joining EVA coaching staff for the first time but has been around volleyball for as long as she can remember. Starting in 5 th grade, Emerson played volleyball for Pulaski Academy, serving as team captain for varsity her senior year. She also played each club season from 5 th grade-12 th grade for Fatchmo. She earned All-Conference in 5A all four years in high school. She played under Autumn Erickson all years of high school at PA and also while at Fatchmo.
In college, Emerson attended University of Arkansas and focused on my studies, earning a BA in both Political Science and Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations (also minored in Criminal Justice). Currently she is in her second year of law school at William H. Bowen School of Law.
For several years, she was a dual sport athlete as she played volleyball and soccer. She has just as many achievements from soccer as she was All- State soccer player for 2 years and All-Conference the other two, also being team captain of PA varsity soccer team her senior year. Emerson also played club soccer for as long as she can remember.
She will bring a joy for the game while teaching her athletes to be fierce competitors while having team first attitude. She has been a leader on her volleyball and soccer teams, so she understands the need for the cohesive team with the same mindset where teamwork plays a central role in the success of a team. Emerson was also a role model and a helper to her younger sister where she was able to watch and participate in her volleyball journey and help shape her volleyball experiences.
Emerson is a huge volleyball enthusiast who has been around the world of volleyball non-stop and is every excited to keep it going by coaching young athletes at EVA.
This year will be Jacklyn's first season coaching with EVA. Prior to joining this program, she has coached a total of 7 seasons of club volleyball, ranging from players at the age of 11 to 17. Jacklyn is a true lover of the sport and enjoys the way it allows athletes to learn how to work hard, have discipline, and appreciate the value of a team.
Jacklyn is a Conway, Arkansas native. She was born and raised in Conway and started playing volleyball competitively in the 7th grade. She was a libero/ DS for Conway High School and played for the Fatchmo Volleyball Club where she got to travel to multiple tournaments ranging from Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Mississippi. Following graduating high school, Jacklyn went straight to coaching club volleyball, allowing her to appreciate the other side of the game as a coach. Jacklyn still continues to play volleyball during her free time, whether it be in the sand or on the court. She enjoys watching all of her little sister's games and loves how the sport elevates in competitiveness each season.
Jacklyn attended the University of Central Arkansas where she obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with a minor in Addiction Studies. She then completed her Doctorate Degree in Occupational Therapy. Jacklyn now works at the Conway Regional Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, where she enjoys utilizing her background in athletics to allow athletes to understand the importance of taking care of their bodies for longevity in their sports.
Deseray is originally from Kansas City Missouri where she played varsity volleyball for Grandview Highschool from 2012-2016. She also played club volleyball with Northland Static Volleyball. During her college years, she studied at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and obtained Bachelor of Arts in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing. She continued her education and further obtained Masters of Education in Secondary Physical Education/Sports Programming. Deseray has previous experience of working behind the scenes as a graduate media assistant with UAPB Athletics during my graduate studies.
She is currently a communications Director of the School of Agriculture, Aquaculture-Fisheries, and Human sciences at UAPB. She previously coached with Conway Juniors Volleyball team as an assistant coach for CJV 16 National under Abbie Harry.
Mike joined EVA as a helper coach last season and started coming to EVA Elite team practices in the post season where he served as a helper in practices by either entering volleyballs for different skill work and wash drills, or helped by playing as a practice player to provide more difficult situation for the players as the big blocker. Mike has been passionate about volleyball for the past seven years. He participates locally by playing indoor, beach, and grass volleyball. Coaching has always been his dream so we are very excited to continue to help him develop as a coach. In the upcoming season he will continue to be a helper coach to several elite teams to be exposed to all of our master coaches.
Mike attended the University of Central Florida. He works in both mental health therapy guidance and article writing. Mike loves volleyball and is looking forward to helping young EVA plyers take their game to the next level.
Camille Smith is returning int he role of helper coach due to high demands of her career. Last season she was Head Coach of EVA 13 Grey and brough a lot of great energy and teaching to a young team wanting to be a great role model for young players. Camille started playing volleyball at a young age and immediately fell in love. She was a middle blocker at Mount St. Mary and on her club teams at Little Rock Juniors. In 2018, she received All-Conference, All-State, and All-Tournament Team as a junior. However, the beginning of her senior year
started out in a way that she could have never expected. She had a complete medial meniscus tear. This took her out of over half her senior season at MSM. There were some complications, so she had to receive another surgery in December 2018. She was not able to play her final season at LRJ and was absolutely heartbroken to be out of the game. During these times, she learned valuable lessons about being a great team player even on the bench. She still served as captain and led MSM to the State Tournament. She credits these moments on the bench with a knee brace, as the times where she found her voice and how to support the team no matter the circumstance.
Now, Camille is a senior in college at UAMS. She graduates in May from nursing school. After school, she plans on becoming a pediatric psychiatric nurse. She currently works at UAMS on
Labor and Delivery.
She hopes to become the coach that she wished she had during her developmental years. She is determined to spread her love for the game to a whole new generation of players.
Dave is in his sixth season as the head coach of the Bauxite Lady Miners, coaching grades 7-12. When he joined the program before the start of the 2018 season, Bauxite had only five wins and no post-season award recipients. In the past five seasons, he’s led Bauxite to 54 wins, two consecutive state tournament bids, and his players have received five All-State selections, 15 All-Conference selections, and two players have gone on to play in college.
This is Dave's second year on EVA coaching staff. This season due to work and health demands he will serve as a helper coach following a season as the Head Coach of EVA 16 White. Prior to EVA, Dave has coached seven seasons of club volleyball. He believes that teaching and coaching is a calling, and feels that his purpose is to help students and athletes achieve their dreams. In addition to coaching, he’s also a certified science and math teacher who embraces everything nerdy. He currently teaches middle school science at Bauxite, where he was named Teacher of the Year in just his third year of teaching. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate in Education from Harding University and graduated with his Masters in Teaching with Distinction from Southern Arkansas University.
Before becoming an educator and coach in 2018, Dave spent 20 years in the business sector in retail, construction, and commercial real estate in Central Arkansas. He was also a youth ministry leader at the Little Rock Church of God for 11 years including six years as the lead youth pastor helping young people.
A veteran of marriage for almost three decades, he does life daily with his lovely wife, Amy. Their oldest daughter Emma is a recent graduate of Mississippi State University with a degree in aerospace engineering and just completed a research fellowship at the University of Tennessee Space Institute this summer. Their youngest daughter Claire, a senior at Benton High school, is the lead manager for the Benton Lady Panther Volleyball program, and is planning to study architecture in college next year.
Dave loves all things sports, exploring in nature, reading for pleasure, immersing in creativity, and he’s always up for new experiences.
Coming back from a season off after giving birth to twin baby girls, coach Leigh Ann will be part of helper coaching staff at EVA.
Coach Leigh Ann was a perfect addition to our coaching staff because along with her volleyball knowledge her background as therapist/coach in occupational therapy she was an excellent in balancing high expectation along with encouragement to her 14 Regional Plus team. Coach Leigh Ann got engaged and is planning a wedding for May 2021 so the extent of her involvement changed from being a head coach to a team to being a Master coach who will help with onboarding new coaches for 2020/21 season. We are grateful for her continuous involvement while balancing her private life and fun year of planning her wedding day.
Leigh Ann was born and raised in central Arkansas where she played varsity volleyball for North Little Rock High School as well as club volleyball. She went on to sign a volleyball scholarship for the University of Central Arkansas but after a change in coaching staff and an awarded academic scholarship, Leigh Ann decided to focus on academics in pursuit of her passion for helping others through a graduate degree in occupational therapy. Her extensive knowledge in biomechanics and motor development as well as her experience and knowledge of volleyball fundamentals lend to a unique perspective and approach to coaching. Over the years, Leigh Ann has nurtured her passion for the game through adult volleyball programs including grass, sand, and indoor environments as well as two years of club coaching experience for LRJ ages 14 and 15s. Leigh Ann is a pediatric occupational therapist at Hippos and Fish Specialized Pediatric Therapy Services and has a passion for helping children, teenagers and young adults reach their fullest potential in all areas of life. Through her years of competitive volleyball, Coach Tanja Eckart was her most influential coach due to her positive and encouraging approach to coaching while setting high standards for work ethic as well as a genuine investment in the development of each individual player. Leigh Ann is a firm believer in the “we vs. me” culture and finds great value in team sports and the positive impact it has on character development into adulthood.
Leigh Ann is married to Jake Arey and the couple is expecting twin girls in February '22.
Daylee joins the EVA coaching staff after participating for four seasons as a player. It is one of our favorite things to advance our players into coaches as we know their character and work ethic and nobody knows better the expectation of excellence and EVA culture than those who have lived it for several seasons. Daylee was extremely dedicated to her team and her improvement to be the best for her team. Aa a young coach, you will see her share her passion for the sport, team concepts as she was a fierce competitor and a teammate along with offering empathy and kindness to her young players.
Daylee played under Coach Eckart and Cat Griffith, and was a part of one of the most successful generations at EVA. While on EVA 16 Elite, Daylee was an integral part of team who double qualified in USA division by winning ASICS Show Me Qualifier in Kansas City followed by the Runner-up finish at Lone Star Classic Qualifier (both in USA division).
Daylee was a passionate libero for Lake Hamilton High School, earning huge honors and achievements. She was also awarded three All-Conference and two All-State honors and ended her high school season by signing with Arkansas Tech University to continue her academic and athletic career. Daylee is currently attending Arkansas Tech University and majoring in Rehabilitation Science. . Daylee looks forward to coaching and helping kids learn the game she loves!!
EVA is dedicated to coach preparation and mentoring so within our organization we offer several coaching positions: Head coaches, Assistant Coaches, Floater Coaches/Helper coaches.
Head and assistant coaches are assigned to a specific team while Floater/Helper coaches attend several teams' practices in order to learn from and be exposed to different coaches in our organization. This benefits the coach in training as well as the team that they are helping as having more coaches in practice is always better for running smoother practices and providing valuable feedback.
If you are interested in becoming a part of EVA coaching staff please read "How we coach at EVA" to know the expectation and contact club director, Tanja Eckart at 501-940-0608 or email@example.com
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Congratulations to EVA Coach Pagie Gantar on being selected to AVCA's 2022 16's Club Coach of the Year