Virginia Top Team is invested in helping players improve skill, improve overall agility and strength, understand the nuances of the game, and most of all enjoy it. Our coaches all have experience on the court as players and on the sidelines as coaches.
Director, Coach- Head Coach 14U
Coach Peter was a varsity volleyball player at Richard Montgomery High School in Maryland all four years. He was an outside hitter and all-around player. Coach Peter was chosen for the All-County Team his last two years and played a major role in his team's success, including the state semi-finals his junior and senior years. He went on to play for the University of Maryland Men's Club Team, further developing as a strong all around player. Coach Peter began his coaching career at his alma mater, beginning to specialize in player development. He has continued his coaching career in northern Virginia for the past fifteen years, focused on developing young athletes to excel at the next level of their volleyball game. Every team Coach Peter has spearheaded, have all finished within the top 10 of the CHRVA Open Region. With over 23 years of coaching experience and a proven track record of training hundreds of successful college athletes, he is ready to lead motivated athletes to the top.
Aside from his coaching and training duties, Coach Peter's career path from the U.S. Army as a military police officer to a civilian police officer to entrepreneur, his disciplined and focused manner has allowed him to develop his leadership abilities and to mentor the younger generation. He has received the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Valor award amongst his accolades. He is married to Kathleen Bach and has two wonderful canines named Walter (Weimaraner) and Kora (Cane Corso- Italian Mastiff).
Administrative Director, Assistant Coach- 14U
Kathleen Bach (Tschampel)
Kathy Bach (Tschampel) played four years of varsity at Eden High School, winning their first state championship her junior year. She also played club volleyball for Eden Volleyball club and Cheetah Volleyball Club as an outside hitter and right side hitter.
Coach Kathy then went onto division III Skidmore College, in upstate New York, playing volleyball there as an outside hitter. Tschampel is said to have propelled Skidmore Women’s Volleyball to state and regional prominence—and national level competition. An Upstate Collegiate Athletic Association All Conference selection (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), UCAA Rookie of the Year (1998), and UCAA Player of the Year (1998, 2001), she led the Thoroughbreds to the New York State Championship (1999), three UCAA Conference Championships (1998, 1999, 2000), and three NCAA Tournament appearances (1999, 2000, 2001). The first Skidmore player to be named National Player of the Week (2000), her roster of awards also includes American Volleyball Coaches New York State All Region Team (2001) and Skidmore Senior Athlete (2002). One of 32 players in Division III history to have surpassed 1,600 kills and 1,600 digs. Upon graduating Skidmore in 2002, Coach Kathy was ranked 3rd in career kills in the NCAA Div. III record books and after 15 years, she still remains NCAA-ranked tenth in career kills and fourteenth in matches played (152). She is now a two-time Hall of Fame Inductee at her alma mater as an individual player and as a team.
Coach Kathy attended graduate school at Pepperdine University in California, earning her first coaching duties at the high school and club levels in California. Since then she has made northern Virginia her home and is married to Peter Bach and enjoys their home with their two dogs, Walter and Kora.
Head Coach- 15U
We are proud to have Coach Emily Thomas join our program for the 2019-2020 season! Coach Emily started playing volleyball at Heritage High School, specializing as a defense specialist. She also played competitive soccer as a goalie for over 10 years. She started her coaching career assisting with Smart’s Mill MS Volleyball for LYV in 2012 and Middleburg Academy’s Varsity Team in 2015. Coach Emily was a D1 hockey goalie for the University of Colorado at Boulder prior to transferring to Liberty University where she continued her hockey career for the Lady Flames. During that time, she continued her passion for the game of volleyball by playing on intramural teams for both indoor and beach volleyball. She has competed in beach tournaments and several adult leagues. For the Chantilly Volleyball Club, she played for the AA Women’s team and AA Co-ed team which took 1st place in the Club’s seasonal tournament. Last season, she was an assistant coach for Virginia Fusion’s 16s team. She is also the JV Head coach for Freedom High School.
She is a graduate from Liberty University with a B.S. Degree in Forensic Science and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Finance. She enjoys working out, spending time with family, being on the water, and playing with her dog, Dakoda. Emily loves coaching and wants to help young women continue to grow in themselves and volleyball!
Head Coach- 16U
We are excited to have Emilee back with the Virginia Top Team family! Coach Emilee trained in volleyball under Coach Peter through her high school and college years. We always enjoy former players return to coaching as we know they are keeping up their enjoyment of the game. Coach Emilee was a competitive nationally ranked soccer goalie for over 10 years, from elementary through high school. Emilee started playing volleyball when she was 16 after making the switch from competitive soccer. She was a 4 year starter and 3 year captain at Virginia Wesleyan University as a setter. During her career Emilee amassed 1,124 digs and 2,126 assists placing her 8th and 3rd respectively for career digs and assists. At Wesleyan Emilee earned the honors of All Tournament Team for 2015 & 2017 as well as All ODAC 3rd team in 2016 and All ODAC 2nd team in 2017. Emilee has coached competitive soccer for years, and started her coaching volleyball career at East Coast Volleyball Club in 2018-2019. Coach Emilee helped lead that 16's team to a second place finish at Capitol Hill Classic - Open Level and a third place finish at the Windy City National Qualifier- Open Level for an Open Level bid to Nationals.
Emilee graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Wesleyan University. Emilee is living in Fairfax with her husband Forrest.
Head Coach- 17U
Elliot F. Cruz
Coach Cruz has over 30 years of volleyball experience as a player and a coach. He has been with us since day one as our 18s Head Coach and in our first year as a club, earned a bid to USA Nationals with our 18s team. We are excited that he is returning to the Virginia Top Team staff for a fourth season!
Coach Cruz picked up the sport in high school, and most of his playing experience came from playing at all levels while in the United States Air Force. There he played and coached individual unit teams, and was a member of installation teams which participated in cross-command competitions and local tournaments and leagues while stationed both stateside and overseas.
He started coaching young players over 16 years ago, and has coached school, club, and recreational volleyball at all levels. Coach Cruz spent eight years at NVVA where he coached at the 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 year groups. During his last two seasons he was head coach for 16s and 17s teams in their ICE Division. He also coached the 17s team during the 2014 season with NV Premier. He was the Assistant Varsity Coach at South County Secondary from 2006 to 2010 where he helped the school win consecutive District Championships, one Regional Championship, and earn one trip to the Virginia State Finals in 2009. He was also the assistant Varsity Coach at Hayfield Secondary during the 2004 season.
He graduated with honors from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), where he attended ROTC before joining the US Air Force. Coach Cruz retired from the Air Force in February 2005, after over 23 years of service. He is married to Yolanda Cruz and they have two children, Gina and Eva.
Gabrielle (Gabby) Litwin
We are super happy to have Coach Gabby return with us this year as a floater coach. Coach Gabby brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge from her days as a player at Division I Texas A&M.
Gabby was a three-year letter winner as a libero and defensive specialist at Plano East Senior High School in Texas. She received all-district honorable mention as a sophomore. As a junior, she led the team with 498 digs and earned MaxPrep Player of the Year and All-District 8-5A second team accolades. In her senior year she was named to the All-District 10-5A first team and also was named the Lady Panthers’ defensive player of the year and co-MVP as a senior captain after leading the team with 515 digs and 51 service aces. Gabby also played four years of club volleyball for the Hurricane, Premier and Summit organizations in Texas.
Coach Gabby continued her playing career as a freshman at Mississippi State, where she started in 17 matches and appeared in 24 for the Bulldogs, before transferring to Texas A&M. She then appeared in 22 games for the Aggies in each of her sophomore and junior years, getting into the starting lineup for 10 of them. In her junior year, Texas A&M captured the SEC Championships, with Gabby playing a vital role in their success. Her senior season at Texas A&M she was named co-captain of the team and received the “Best Defensive Player” award. Gabby appeared in 24 of 25 matches, posting double-figure digs in five of them.
Staff Massage Therapist
Kaye Decano LMT
Kaye is our certified massage therapist on staff and has been with us since day one. After three day tournaments, Kaye does sports massage therapy on our injured and sore players. A former competitor of the local body building scene, Kaye understands the muscles used in sports performance, require special care for a faster recovery. She is also known as our miracle worker, getting our players back on the court faster and safer.
Kaye Decano has worked as a Licensed Massage Therapist for five years. Her technique consists of a combination of deep tissue, neuromuscular, and myofascial release techniques. Her goal is to create a customized care plan that is client-specific and that takes a whole body approach.
"I was drawn to the field of massage therapy almost five years ago after experiencing a health crisis of my own. In the year 2009, I suffered a neck injury, resulting in migraines and chronic pain that crippled my daily activities. It was not until I received my first Spinal Reflex Therapy massage two years later that I was able to manage my pain successfully, giving new meaning to my life. "
Kaye graduated from the Northern Virginia Community College Massage Therapy Program in December of 2012 and received her license in the state of Virginia in August 2013. Her client base consists mainly of those with chronic pain, pre-/post-surgical cases, and athletic rehabilitation & performance.
Besides her passion in therapeutic massage, she is a 4x Nationally Qualified NPC Bikini competitor. "Becoming an athlete has given me a deeper understanding of what my clients experience, helping me to serve them better. It also led me into the world of nutrition and how it could be used to cure a variety of ailments. In February 2014, I became a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and still today, I continue to study the healing effects of food."
Coach Springer is the owner and founder of Springfit Performance. Virginia Top Team uses his facility as part of our conditioning program. We are proud to partner up with Springfit to give our players the advantage they need to succeed.
Coach Springer, originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has his B.S in Exercise Physiology-Sports Medicine at East Stroudsburg University. With a desire to mentor young athletes, as well as professional athletes, he quickly pursued internships with various professional sports organizations. Coach Springer also worked within the Washington Redskins organization from 1999-2005. Springer continued his career in private, personal training in the Washington D.C. area by starting his own business SPRINGFIT in 1993. Springfit Personal Training and Wellness has been successfully training clients from the novice to the elite professional athlete for over 24 years.
A swimmer who achieved All-American status, a baseball player and a collegiate football player, Coach Springer realized he was most influential in the training and mentoring of athletes, inspiring them to reach their maximum potential and encouraging them to strive for their highest goals. He has been developing and increasing athletes’ speed, agility, power, strength, and endurance where hard work always beats talent. In 2006, Coach Springer saw the need to specialize more. He started a division of Springfit called Springfit Performance to assist his daughter’s and other athletes in soccer, swimming, volleyball, baseball and football reach peak performance. Coach Springer not only promotes fitness and wellness, he believes in incorporating nutritional education and injury prevention to inspire and educate clients.
Coach Springer is affiliated with the following: American College of Sports Medicine, National Academy of Sports Medicine, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and American Alliance for Health Recreation and Dance.