Coaches

12-Purple: Laura Hamilton

Bio: Laura is a 2012 graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall where she played volleyball all 4 years and a Northern Heat Alum. Laura was a co-captain on her b-squad, JV, and varsity seasons. Laura led her varsity team to the 2011 State Tournament. After her years at CDH and Northern Heat, Laura attended the College of Saint Benedict where she played club volleyball and coached for Sauk Rapid’s 14-2 JO club team. Laura is the 9th grade Gold coach at CDH and first time coach at Northern Heat. Laura is coaching the 12-Purple team this JO season.

Outside of volleyball, Laura works as a Registered Dietician at the WIC Program in Anoka County. She is passionate about supporting healthy lifestyles when it comes down to activity and nutrition. When she is not working, Laura enjoys biking, reading, and cooking. Email: lrhamilton6@gmail.com

12-Orange: Bridget Lasswell

Bio: Bridget is a 2013 graduate of Cretin-Derham Hall where she played volleyball all 4 years at CDH. Bridget is the 9th grade Purple coach at CDH and is excited to join the Northern Heat coaching staff. Bridget has also coached JO volleyball for the Mahtomedi Area Volleyball Association. Bridget is the 12-Orange coach for Northern Heat.

Outside of volleyball, Bridget does marketing communications at HealthPartners in Bloomington. You will find Bridget drinking a cup of coffee and planning her next weekend getaway. Email: b.lasswell@comcast.net

12-Orange: Caitlin Bruns

Bio: Caitlin has played volleyball for school and JO programs her entire life. She has played high school volleyball for Woodbury and Cretin-Derham Hall. She has also played JO volleyball for Kokoro and Northern Heat. Caitlin is a right side hitter and a current senior at Cretin-Derham Hall. She is assisting Bridget on the 12-Orange team this season.

Caitlin is excited to graduate high school and attend college next fall!

Club Director & Head Coach: Ellen Schafer

Bio: Ellen Schafer first learned how to play volleyball when she was 11 years old being coached by her mother. Ellen joined Northern Heat Volleyball (NHVB) in 2005 where she alternated between middle hitter and right side until her final season in 2009. Ellen attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School playing volleyball, basketball, and ultimate frisbee all 4 years. Ellen started her coaching career as an assistant coach during her senior year of high school in 2010. Upon high school graduation from Cretin-Derham Hall, Ellen went on to play club volleyball at University of St. Thomas (UST). As well as becoming a head coach for Northern Heat.

Ellen graduated from UST in 2014 and was hired as head of the 9th grade volleyball program at Cretin-Derham Hall. She held that job for two years before being promoted to JV and varsity assistant coach in 2016. Ellen helped lead that team to a conference title and 2nd place in sectionals. In 2017, Ellen was hired as the varsity volleyball coach for Cretin-Derham Hall and became owner and director of JO club, Northern Heat Volleyball. After the 2019 varsity season, Ellen retired from coaching high school volleyball, but maintains ownership of Northern Heat Volleyball. Prior to the pandemic, Northern Heat was growing exponentially with 11 teams consisting of over 120 athletes and over 30 coaches. We are excited to be able to play volleyball again and regrow the program back up.

Ellen has coached at the local, regional, and national level for club volleyball and is in her 16th year at Northern Heat.

Outside of volleyball, Ellen is the STEM Coordinator for Cretin-Derham Hall High School. Ellen plays on various women’s and coed volleyball teams throughout the Twin Cities. Ellen enjoys hanging out with friends and family and traveling.

Email: ellenschafer10@gmail.com

Head Coach: Tom Dobbs

Bio: Tom has been a head coach for Northern Heat Volleyball since 2005. He is a highly qualified coach with nearly 35 years of competitive playing experience. He coached 10 years at Nativity of Our Lord School and took several teams to the CAA Finals. Tom is currently the varsity coach at NOVA Classical Academy. While with Northern Heat, he has coached at all levels from 14’s to 18’s and has coached numerous players that have gone on to successful college volleyball careers. Tom continues to play competitively on both indoor and beach volleyball teams. His game knowledge and competitive spirit translate to a fast paced and high energy coaching style.

Outside of the gym, Tom is an architect and Principal of Hay Dobbs Architects in Minneapolis. He and his wife Laura live in St. Paul and have 4 children. The entire family plays volleyball and can often be seen playing sand volleyball together- Dobbs’ vs. the World. Tom’s other interests include cooking, aviation, marksmanship, watching sports and helping his kids compete at sports and life. Email: tdobbs@haydobbs.com

15-1: Molly Slough

Bio:Molly started playing volleyball at the age 9, learning from her older sister. She continued playing through high school for both her school team and club teams as a right side in Chicago, IL. After playing in intramural leagues in college, Molly moved to Minneapolis and has been playing at the BB/B (gold) level in adult leagues for the past 9 years.

Molly is in her 6th year with Northern Heat. Molly has also coached volleyball for the CAA. Outside of volleyball, Molly owns her own jewelry marketing company. Email: mmslough@gmail.com

14-2: Alli Cheaney

Bio: Alli Cheaney played volleyball all through middle and high school, eight years total. She specializes in the back row positions and continues to play in rec leagues with friends. This is Alli’s 5th year coaching at NHVB.

Outside of volleyball, Alli is in sales for a software company in the Twin Cities. She also loves hanging out with her family and being active outside with her two dogs, Maverick and Pedro. Email: cheaney6@hotmail.com

Assistant Coach: Aaron Sagedahl

Bio: Aaron is the Junior Varsity and Varsity Assistant at NOVA Classical Academy. This is Aaron’s first year coaching at Northern Heat Volleyball.

Assistant Coach: Kyla Cook

Bio: Originally from Southern California, Kyla has been playing volleyball from a young age beginning with Parks & Recreation teams and progressing through high school where she earned such accolades as “First Team All League” and “MVP.” As a utility player, Kyla has key experience as a middle hitter, setter, and right-side hitter before retiring as an outside hitter. Kyla has a lifelong passion for volleyball and has recently begun coaching at St. Thomas More elementary and Jr. High school in St. Paul. She is extremely excited to connect further with the St. Paul volleyball community. This is Kyla’s first season coaching at Northern Heat Volleyball.

Outside of volleyball, Kyla enjoys spending time with her family, reading, attending concerts pre-pandemic, and doing anything outdoors.

Assistant Coach: Keeley Williams

Bio: Keeley is a former player of Northern Heat volleyball, starting in middle school. Keeley played 4 years of high school volleyball at Cretin-Derham Hall as an outside hitter and is in her first year assistant coaching for NHVB.

Assistant Coach: Sophia Huot

Bio: Sophia is a former player of Northern Heat Volleyball, starting in middle school. Sophia has played 3 years of high school volleyball and is looking forward to her senior season at Cretin-Derham Hall. Sophia plays right side and middle hitter. Sophia is in her first assistant coaching for NHVB.

Assistant Coach: Megan Freeman

Bio: Megan is a former player of Northern Heat Volleyball, starting in middle school. Megan has played 3 years of high school volleyball and is looking forward to her senior season at Cretin-Derham Hall. Megan has played setter and right side. Megan is in her first assistant coaching for NHVB.

15-2: Grace Cross

Bio: Grace Cross starting playing volleyball in 3rd grade. She continued playing as a setter for Hill-Murray’s club and high school teams. Grace played on club and intramural teams throughout college at University of St. Thomas and still plays today. Grace coached Hill-Murray’s 9th grade program for 5 years and their JO club teams for 6 years.

Grace is in her 2nd year at Northern Heat and is the 15-2s head coach.

Outside of volleyball, Grace is a Sr. Staffing Specialist in Talent Acquisition at Target Corporation. She enjoys being active and spending time with family and friends. Grace loves trying new restaurants around town and attending concerts. Email: grace.cross@target.com

15-2: Taylor Wentz

Bio: Taylor Wentz started playing volleyball in 4th grade. She continued playing as a setter for Hill Murray’s club and high school teams. She also was a setter for NOMA Club. Taylor attended Winona State University where she played on club and intramural volleyball teams and still plays today.

Taylor is in her 2nd year at Northern Heat and will assist Grace on the 15-2s team.

Outside of volleyball, Taylor is a Staffing Specialist in Talent Acquisition at Target Corporation. She enjoys going to the movies and reading. As well as, spending as much time as possible with family and friends. Email: taylor.wentz@target.com

17/18s: Joe Stinchfield

Bio: Joe Stinchfield is considered one of the original members of Northern Heat over 30 years ago. Northern Heat is excited to welcome Joe back this year after taking some time off. Joe is assisting Tom on the 17/18s team.
Outside of volleyball, Joe loves spending time with his wife and numerous dogs and cats.

Positional Coaches:

Strength Coach – Ellie Schwartz

Ellie started playing volleyball in 5th grade and immediately fell in love with the game. She continued to play through high school at Hill-Murray where she was a 4x varsity letter winner. Ellie was a captain her senior year and earned Metro East All-Conference and All-State Honorable Mention for the MNVBCA in 2015. Ellie holds the record for number of kills in a single season (419) at HM and helped her team to a second place

State finish in 2013 and Consolation State Champion in 2015. Ellie won the St. Paul Athena Award in 2016.

Ellie is currently a junior at Augsburg University where she plays on their varsity volleyball team. Ellie is majoring in Communications.

Ellie is in her 2nd year of coaching at Northern Heat.

Email: ellschwartz@icloud.com

Strength & Setter Coach: Hannah Schwartz

Hannah started playing volleyball in 5th grade and continued to play all throughout college. Hannah was a starting setter for Hill-Murray and the University of St. Thomas Women’s Volleyball Club Team. Hannah is in her 3rd year at Northern Heat as a Strength and Setter Positional Coach.
Outside of volleyball, Hannah is an Associate Affiliate Account Manager for Sigma Beauty and enjoys all things fashion. She also enjoys hanging out with friends and family, especially her little sister, Ellie. Email: hannahbernice21@gmail.com