Nate started his volleyball career by playing internationally in Europe as a junior, and continued that love for the sport playing as an adult in both the Seattle and Portland areas until his body failed him, and he turned to coaching to fill that hole in his heart.
Nate joins the NPJ family as both the Director of Operations and the Club Director for NPJ Portland. He brings with him vast experience directing both youth development and club programs as a co-director for YVBA (Youth Volleyball Association). During his 12 years at YVBA, Nate helped grow their club program to one of the CEVA region's top clubs, coaching multiple teams into the top tier (gold), across multiple age groups.
Nate is a avid competitor and a lifelong student of the game. Constant evaluation and improvement of one's skills and knowledge is something he tries to implement in his daily life, and instill in the players and coaches around him. He lives in Beaverton with is girlfriend Sarah, daughter Oakley and dog Grayson.
Aquiles Montoya enters his second year on the Park Blocks ahead of the Vikings' 2021 season.
Montoya helped lead the Vikings to a strong finish to their unique 2021 winter season. The Vikings were the last team within the Big Sky Conference to return to full training due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but ended the season with five wins in their last six matches. Additionally, Ellie Snook was named the Big Sky Libero of the Year at the end of the season, while she made the All-Big Sky second team for the second straight season.
Montoya spent the previous three seasons as the lead assistant coach of the Pacific Boxers’ varsity team, where he helped the Boxers set program records for wins in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018. The Boxers went 17-7 overall and 10-6 in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference (NWC) in 2017, then topped that the following year while going 18-8 overall and 11-5 in NWC play.
The Boxers placed second in the NWC in 2017 and 2019, and never finished worse than third in any year Montoya was on staff.
“We are pleased to have Aquiles join our program,” Seemann said of Montoya’s hire. “He is a tireless worker who brings passion and energy to our program. He is a proven recruiter, as he has worked his way through the Division III coaching system, filling a huge roster requirement with quality student-athletes. I like that he is well rounded when it comes to his experiences as a D1 player, a D3 coach/recruiter, and club coach. He will have a tremendous, positive influence on our program.”
Montoya helped lead a number of Boxers to individual success. Eleven Boxers received All-NWC recognition in Montoya’s time with the school, including the 2017 NWC Libero of the Year (Anna VanderWeyst) and the 2018 NWC Freshman of the Year (Haley Walz).
The 2018 Boxers delivered a signature win for the program when they defeated a nationally ranked Pacific Lutheran squad, 3-1, for their first win against PLU in over 15 years.
“I am ecstatic for the opportunity to be a part of the Portland State volleyball program,” Montoya said at the time of his hire. “Michael’s commitment and vision to compete for conference championships immediately, while assisting these student-athletes to become strong women drew me to the position. I want to thank Valerie Cleary, Trinity Gibbons and the whole athletic department for being so welcoming to my family and I to Portland State. It’s a great time to be a Viking.”
Besides his role at Pacific, Montoya also served as the technical coordinator at the University of Portland in 2017. While there, Montoya learned under head coach Brent Crouch – the current head coach at Auburn – while overseeing the program’s pre- and post-practice video set up.
Montoya served as the head coach for the NCVA Boys Indoor High Performance team in 2017, and was the program’s lead assistant from 2014-16. In four years with the club, Montoya helped lead the team to a 25-7 overall record while numerous players went on to play collegiately.
Additionally, Montoya is the current 18 National head coach for the North Pacific Juniors Volleyball Club. He also served as the head assistant coach for the NCVA Girls Beach High Performance club team from 2015-16, and has experience working for the Oregon Juniors Volleyball Academy, Core Volleyball Club, Sand Legs Volleyball Club and Renegades Volleyball Club.
As a player, Montoya began his collegiate career at Santa Barbara City College, where he was a two-year starter (2011-12) at middle blocker and was voted MVP of the Western State Conference North Division as a sophomore. Montoya went on to be a two-year letterwinner at Grand Canyon University (2013-14).
Montoya also played for various adult teams after college, spending time with Stump Town Volleyball, the Orange County Volleyball Club and the Blizzard Volleyball Club.
Montoya and his wife, Alix, reside in Lake Oswego with their children Leighton and Aquiles IV.
Austin is entering his second year at NPJ Portland. In his first season, the Portland 16-1 team ended as the most improved team in CEVA, jumping from 47th to 19th and moving up every power league. Before NPJ, Austin first started coaching for CYO's Valley Catholic team. He then became Wave VBC's 16-3 head coach for two years before moving to YVBA and head coaching the 16-1's team.
As a player, he started playing for the Oregon State club team and was libero/setter for four years. In 2013, the team won gold at NCVF Nationals. He continues to play recreationally around the Portland area.
Austin strives to create an inclusive and competitive environment, where every player is given the opportunities to grow and work towards becoming better players and people outside of volleyball.
Laurel has been coaching since 2015 both in the USA and Australia. She has coached every age from primary school to varsity high school.
She began her coaching career in Brisbane, Queensland as an assistant coach for a juniors skill camp at Brisbane Volleyball Club. She later moved on to coach girls at Brigidine College and Somerville House and boys at Marist College, Ashgrove. Additionally, she was head coach of the U17 women’s club team at Dragon’s Volleyball Club in Brisbane, Australia where she guided the team to a bronze medal in the JPVL league. Through Dragons, she was an assistant coach for SpikeZone (primary school) and the junior training camp (middle / high school development).
In the USA, Laurel began coaching as an assistant coach for Riverdale HS under NPJ coach Kendall Bergsten and head coach of the Riverdale MS program. She then coached two seasons as a 16s and 14s level coach for YVBA. Her 16s team finished second in their bracket at the 2019 CEVA Regional tournament and her 14s team won their respective bracket at the 2020 CEVA President’s Day Tournament before the season was suspended. She coached 12s at Athena VBC during the shortened 2020/2021 club volleyball season.
Laurel began playing volleyball for Horizon Honors in Phoenix, AZ in 7th grade and hasn’t taken a season off since. Some of her accolades include a state championship for her club (East Valley Juniors), a top 5 state finish for Horizon Honors High School, 3 Arizona State University intramural championships in both Coed and women’s division, and was the captain for the DIV 1 women’s PVL team at Dragon’s Volleyball Club.
She also plays Aussie rules football (AFL) for Portland Australian Football Club (go Sockeyes!) and is an avid Brisbane Lions fan.
Blossom is an Assistant Coach at Portland State University.
All-WCC first team – 2018
WCC Player of the Week – (10/15/18)
PEPPERDINE CAREER: In two years wearing the blue and orange, Sato played in 52 total matches, starting in 50 of them and seeing time in 185 sets … Sato made an immediate impact and continued on to total 1,915 total assists, averaging 10.35 assists/set, while also picking up 452 digs for 2.44 digs/set for her team … She also amassed 63 total smashes on a .214 clip, averaging 0.34 kills/set … Posted 42 aces for 0.23 aces/set and 57 blocks with three solo rejections for 0.31 blocks/set … She earned 17 double-double matches in assists/digs … Posted a career-high 59 aces against Idaho (8/31/18), 24 digs at Santa Clara (11/9/17), three aces two times against Utah Valley 8/25/17 and at Pacific (11/3/18) and four blocks twice, at San Diego (11/20/18) and against Pacific (10/4/18).
PEPPERDINE 2018: In her senior campaign with the Waves, she played and started in all 31 matches, not missing a single set of action with 111 sets played … She marked 42 total kills (0.38 k/s) on a .185 clip, while adding 25 aces (0.23 sa/s), 237 digs (2.14 d/) and 36 total blocks with one solo (0.32 b/s) … She impressed with 1,194 assists on 2,985 total attempts for a .400 assist percentage, while finishing the season with 85.5 total points for 0.77 points/set … Put up seven matches with double-doubles featuring double-figure digs and assists … Led the Waves in assists in all but one match (30), aces in five and digs and blocks once … Marked a season-high 59 assists versus Idaho (8/31/18), four blocks twice with the most recent occasion being against San Diego (11/20/18) and three aces at Pacific (11/3/18).
PEPPERDINE 2017: In her first season with the Waves, started 19 matches while playing in 21 matches and 74 total sets … Led the team with 721 total assists and 9.74 assists/set as the primary setter … Also posted 215 digs to average 2.91 digs/set … Averaged 0.28 kills/set (21 kills) and blocks/set (21 blocks, 2 solos) and 0.23 aces/set (17 aces) … Finished the season with 49.5 points to average 0.67 points/set … Led the team in assists in 18 matches, aces in three and digs in two … Tallied 10 matches with double-doubles for assists and digs and had one match with over 20 digs … Posted a season-best 54 assists and three aces against Utah Valley (Aug. 25) and 24 digs at Santa Clara (Nov. 9) … Marked a season-high four kills at San Jose State (Aug. 25) and three blocks twice at Pacific (Oct. 28) and against Northeastern (Aug. 31).
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Played two seasons at SEC’s Mississippi State University under Head Coach David Mcfatrich in Starkville, Miss. … Tabbed 1,840 career assists which ranks 7th in the MSU record books … Tabbed a career-high 58 assists vs. Arkansas on November 20 in her sophomore season … Amassed 872 assists in her freshman campaign which stands as the fourth-most in a single season in school history by a Bulldog freshman … In her freshman season, earned 25-plus assists in 20 matches, and 40-plus in six matches … In her sophomore campaign, marked 968 assists throughout the season to average 7.87 assists/set.
CLUB: Played for Mizuno Long Beach from 2012-14 and Sunshine Volleyball Club from 2014-15 … In 2015, garnered Pacific Northwest Junior National Qualifier Dream Team honors.
HIGH SCHOOL: Graduated from Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. in 2015 … Lettered four seasons as a setter in the Ocean League (CIF-SS) under Head Coach Liane Sato with SMHS … Garnered AVCA High School All-American honors in 2014 … Named to AVCA Phenom Watch List in 2013 and to PrepVolley.com’s Top 50 High School Freshman list in 2011 … Three-time CIF Southern Section first team honoree … Two-time Ocean League Most Valuable Player selection … Ocean League Most Outstanding Player in 2015 … Three-time Ocean League top-assist leader … SMHS honor roll for four consecutive seasons.
PERSONAL: Daughter of Liane Sato … Plans to major in Intercultural Communications at Pepperdine … Her mother Liane Sato was a member of the US Women’s National Volleyball Team in 1988 and 1992 when the team captured the bronze medal … Her uncles Eric and Gary were also standouts in the sport, playing or coaching alongside legendary Pepperdine men’s volleyball coach Marv Dunphy for Team USA when the squad won the gold in 1988 – Eric was a member of the 1988 US Men’s National Team that claimed gold and the 1992 squad that earned bronze and Gary (now an assistant for USC) served as the United States’ Head Coach for the 1985 FIVB World Cup gold medal finish and served as an assistant for the US Men’s National Team from 1984-88, 1992 and from 2009-12 … State she “chose Pepperdine because of the girls on the team and the coaching staff and how they all love and support one another tremendously. [She] could really feel at home at Pepperdine.”
Sherwood High School Head Coach - Bio Coming Soon
Emilie Wilmes graduated from Canby High School in 2013, as a four-year varsity player and three years of being team captain. Emilie decided to continue her volleyball career in college, she played one season at Long Beach state before transferring and finishing out her college career with three years at Oregon State.
Emilie has been coaching for West Linn High School since 2017. In 2019 she became the Head coach of West Linn High School. Since being a part of the school, the program has made it to 3 state appearances, Prior to coaching at NPJ Emilie coached three years at Portland Volleyball Club.