Coaching Staff

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saga vae

Club Director
16 Saga, Head Coach
18 Saga, Head Coach



Saga Vae is the Club Director for SF Elite VBC. Saga has been coaching college, high school, and club volleyball for close to two decades. He has coached all ages from 14s to 18s Division and qualified countless teams to Junior Olympics and Junior National Championships. Coach Saga's influence on the volleyball community across the Bay Area and beyond is unparalleled, with many of his former players and assistants going on to notable volleyball careers themselves.

As the Head Coach of the City College of San Francisco Women's Volleyball team for the past 8 years, Coach Saga has led his team to three straight second place finishes in the Coast Conference and appearances in the State Playoffs. He has also secured athletic scholarships for his players from NCAA Division 1, 2, and NAIA schools each year he has coached. Coach Saga also coached at SF Tremors Volleyball Club for 17 years, earning numerous first place finishes in NCVA's Power League Gold Division, championships at multiple Junior National Qualifiers, and earning bids to several Junior National Championships. Coach Saga also spent 5 years as Head Coach of the South San Francisco High School Girls Varsity volleyball team, earning first or second place finishes in the PAL Conference each year, as well as securing college athletic scholarships for his players each year.

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kijana best

13 Kijana, Head Coach



My name is Kijana Best, I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Sports has been a major part of my life since I was 7 years old. Growing up I played volleyball, basketball and track but volleyball has always been my favorite sport. I started playing volleyball competitively in the 3rd grade and club volleyball in the 5th grade. I played for a variety of clubs including the San Francisco Warriors, Frisco Bay and Slainte. I began my journey as a libero then a middle and finally found my permanent position as an all around outside hitter. I was fortunate enough to play for highly competitive teams and go to the Girls Junior Nationals 5 consecutive times in cities such as Miami, Atlanta, Reno, Minneapolis and New Orleans. I played one year of junior varsity and three years of varsity volleyball at Mercy High School where I was awarded Most Inspirational for two consecutive years and Most Valuable Player for three consecutive years.

After high school I went on to play for City College of San Francisco under Coach Saga Vae. My first years team had a successful season, I was awarded CCSF Most Valuable Player, Player of the Year and All-Conference 1st team. My second years team also had a successful season, I was awarded CCSF Most Valuable Player, 1st team All-Conference, Conference MVP and 1st team All-State. After finishing my two years at City College of San Francisco I received a volleyball scholarship to play at Western New Mexico University where I graduated with my Bachelors of Science Degree in Kinesiology.

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Zaire best

13 Kijana, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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kyle buenaflor

11 Roschelle, Assistant Coach



Kyle is very dedicated to his players and the learning process. He is a competitive and passionate coach. He played for Burton High Schools volleyball team for 3 years as a setter and a right side.

After high school, he began as an assistant coach at SF Elite Volleyball Club. Kyle returns for his second year of coach club as well as is one of the lead coaches in the Future Elite Program.

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roschelle buenaflor

11 Roschelle, Head Coach



Roschelle Buenaflor started playing volleyball at the age of 7 years old for St. Elizabeth School. She started club at the age of 12 for Slainte and continued at SF Tremors. She played for Burton High Schools Varsity Girls Volleyball all 4 years as the starting Setter. During her years at Burton she has made the 1st and 2nd All City League Team, was MVP for 2 years, and led her team to Playoffs her senior year. She continued her playing career at City College of San Francisco as a Setter for Coach Saga. While playing at CCSF she received a Coast Conference Award for All Conference Team- Honorable Mention and MVP Award. She continues to play in leagues all over California.

Coach Ro has been coaching for 8 years. This is her second season with SF Elite as a Head Coach and FEP Coach. She has made 3 JNC appearances with SF Tremors in 2012 and 2013 for the 12s Division, also in 2014 for the 13s Division as an assistant coach. While coaching teams at SF Tremors, she was also a DPS Coach. From 2016 to present, she helps out with the Burton High school Girls Volleyball team. In 2017, she began coaching for Burton High Schools Boys Volleyball Team. In 2018, she has led the Boys Volleyball team to their 1st playoff appearance with 3 players making 1st Team, 2nd Team, and Honorable Mention for the AAA/CIF SF All League Team. This year, she has led Burton to their 2nd consecutive playoff appearance, 1st Championship appearance, and 1st CIF NorCal Boys Volleyball Championship appearance. This season also includes players making the 1st Team, Honorable Mention, and receiving the Peter K. Yan Award for AAA/CIF SF All League Team.

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Kenneth Cheung

13 Manalo, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Tiffany Cheung

17 Samantha, Assistant Coach



Tiffany Cheung has been playing volleyball since the 4th grade. She continued playing in high school at a varsity level, then went onto to college and played club volleyball. During college, she also played in various adult leagues. Currently, she plays in 9man tournaments. She recently graduated from the Univeristy of California, Riverside and moved back home to the Bay Area.

Tiffany returns for her second year of coaching, and is excited to get started!

Bio Coming Soon

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una deng

12 Stephany, Assistant Coach



Una Deng played volleyball for 8 years, starting in her 8th grade year in middle school. She then played for the Galileo High School volleyball team for 4 years and made it to Second Team all league on her senior year. Additionally, between high school seasons, she played under SF Tremors, Frisco Bay and the Slainte volleyball teams. By college, she continued her volleyball career when asked to play for Holy Names University DII volleyball team.

As an newcomer to the coaching community, she is excited to contribute her skill and teach for this upcoming volleyball season.

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jason erdenebaatar

15 Jason, Head Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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devon elisara

11 Cris, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Sifa Faaiu

13 Kijana, Assistant Coach



Sifa Faaiu started playing volleyball her freshman year of high school for Coach Eric Salazar. From there, she worked very hard for a whole year and came back her sophomore year at South San Francisco High School to make the varsity volleyball team. By the time she reached the end of senior year, she received a scholarship to play for Notre Dame de Namur University. She then bounced back to City College of San Francisco where she received MVP of her team as well as First Team All Conference. Her hard work at City College lead her to receive a full scholarship to California State University, Los Angeles, in which she played both Indoor volleyball and Beach Volleyball.

Her coaching career began in Los Angeles with assisting with the Forza 13-2s Area team. She also is the assistant to Saga Vae at City College of San Francisco Womens Volleyball Team.

 

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leo fung

14 Leo, Head Coach



Leo Fung has been playing volleyball for many years. He started playing at Northgate High School in 2000. His senior year at SF State, he tore his ACL, while also coaching club at the same time. He currently plays in various adult leagues and also beach and grass every weekend.

Leo first started coaching at Concord High School in 2005. He later was an assistant coach at University High School, where they made league play-offs multiple times and even qualified for state playoffs. Leo has also coached at various clubs throughout the years, including SF juniors, Beach Vibes, and Pacific Rim, earning bids to Junior National Championship. Currently, Leo is coaching middle school varsity at French American School in San Francisco for the past two years.

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ysidro gan

14 Leo, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Manono Hunkin

12 Nono, Head Coach



Coach Manono (Nono) started his volleyball career playing on the varsity mens volleyball team at Phillip and Sala Burton High school. He developed his passion for this sport because of his Uncle Saga. After high school, Nono was a student coach for the womens City College of San Francisco volleyball team for two years.

Last year, was Nonos first year head coaching. He was the assistant coach for SF Elite's 11s team for two previous years.

 

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Chrissy lang

16 Saga, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Shannon Lee

16 Shannon, Head Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Christina Lopez

14 Christina, Head Coach



Christina Lopez is a native San Franciscan and has been playing volleyball since the 6th grade. She has participated in the Junior National Championship (formerly known as Junior Olympics) three times during her club tenure and under the tutelage of Coach Saga her 18s team won the Flight 1 Championship. After finishing her club volleyball career, she decided to make the move from player to coach. Throughout her 10+ years of coaching club, she has coached all age ranges from 12s-18s. In the 2013-2014 season, Christinas 14s team won the PNQ in Spokane and earned a bid to play in the Junior National Championship (JNC). In SF Elites inaugural season, Christinas 12s team earned a bid at the SCVA qualifier to play at the JNC in Detroit. This past season, Christinas 12s team earned a bid at the Far Western qualifier to play at the JNC in Indianapolis. Aside from club volleyball, Christina also has experience coaching at the high school and CYO level.

2013-14 Pacific Northwest Qualifier JNC Minneapolis, MN
2017-18 Red Rock Rave JNC Detroit, MI
2018-19 Far Western JNC Indianapolis, IN
2019-20 NCVA region JNC Dallas, TX
Christina went back to play for Coach Saga as a setter on the CCSF Womens volleyball team. She ranked #1 in assists for Coast Conference North, placed in the top 10 in the state as an Assist Leader and became the all-time assist leader for the Rams. Christina placed in the top 10 in both state and conference for assists and was named Honorable Mention in Coast Conference North.

 

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Zaiah Luna-Calvin

10 Little Elites, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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symone mackiewicz

12 Nono, Assistant Coach
18 Saga, Assistant Coach



Symone started her volleyball career at the age of nine playing CYO and club volleyball. She attended Sacred Heart Cathedral and as a sophomore played on Varsity as a middle blocker and outside hitter. At the age of fourteen she made XLVB 18s open only participating in qualifiers. Her senior year she played for SF Juniors 18s open.

She started her club coaching career at Frisco Bay Volleyball in 2014 earning a bid to JNC. In addition to coaching club she has also coached at the high school level for Terra Nova leading them to CCS and having an undefeated season. She also coached at International high school. She now coaches CYO volleyball for OLV.

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michael manalo

13 Manalo, Head Coach
16 Shannon, Assistant Coach



Michael Manalo holds a wide range of experience coaching volleyball in the Bay Area. Currently, he is the Boys Volleyball Head Coach at Academy High School. In addition to this, Manalo is also the Girls Volleyball assistant coach at Washington High School, in San Francisco, California.

Prior to these coaching positions, he has volunteered coaching volleyball for over 9 years. Specifically speaking, during that time he has worked with both boys and girls for San Franciscos Park & Recreation Department.

During his time away from coaching, some of Manalo's hobbies include watching, filming and photographing volleyball games as he travels across the country. He has a designated Instagram account (@MANALOVBALL) specifically allocated to volleyball related content such as drills, game clips, and player highlights.

One quote that Manalo lives by is: It's not a vacation without volleyball.

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teddy niemira

15 Niemira, Head Coach



A San Bruno native, Thadeus "Teddy" Niemira started playing volleyball in August 1998, accompanying his mother to the San Bruno park on Sundays where they would set up a net together.

Between 2005 and 2012 for Bay to Bay and Slainte volleyball clubs, he attended Junior Nationals (then known as "Junior Olympics") every year, three in the club division and four in open including four in a row at the 18s level, tied for 5th in Open in 2007 Atlanta.

Four year Varsity starter at Saint Ignatius College Prep, one at outside hitter, three at setter. 2010- WCAL Honorable Mention, SI's first ever CCS tournament win. 2011- WCAL First team, WCAL Champion, CCS Champion, Gold Division at Best of the West tournament in San Diego, 3rd Place Bellarmine Invitational and named All-Tournament team. SI achieved it's only national ranking (50) to end the season, also defeating Bellarmine Prep (5) in the WCAL Finals. 2012- WCAL First Team, SI achieved it's highest ever national ranking (44) during the season. Would depart SI having played in every match 4 years in a row.

At UCSB played briefly with men's team before becoming a student volunteer assistant coach with women's team and playing beach volleyball, as well as serving as the president of the UCSB club volleyball program.

Upon graduating UCSB, served as an assistant Coach for Lance Walker (men) and Nabil Mardini (women) at Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California. In his two seasons with the men, they would win two conference titles and a state championship. During the state championship season, he was honored as the Western State Conference Coach of the Year, the youngest person and only assistant coach to win the award. In the interim season with the Pierce women they would win an undefeated conference title and finish fifth in the state tournament.

Currently Coach Teddy works at Menlo College with the men's program, USF assisting their sand volleyball team, at Saint Ignatius as the head girls' JV coach and assisting the Varsity women's team. As a AAA beach player and an AVP member since 2016 he also continues to train and play professional beach volleyball year-round. Lists his proudest sports moments as "any time one of my players does something they didn't think they could" he also cheekily mentions this happens often.

 

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Lynn Niemira

15 Niemira, Assistant Coach
10 Little Elites, Head Coach



Lynn began coaching back in 2002 as a volunteer for the Youth League at San Bruno Recreation. From 2004-2018, she coached Varsity Volleyball at three different local high schools. For 13 of those years, she also coached for three different local middle schools.

Since 2019 she has been assisting her son, Teddy, at both SF Elite and at St. Ignatius junior varsity.

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daniel pak

17 Daniel, Head Coach



Daniel Pak has been a head volleyball coach for 6 plus years coaching men's and women's teams. He started playing volleyball in 2006 at De Anza HS in El Sobrante and was an All-League performer for four years, leading the Dons to their first NCS appearance.

In 2017 Daniel coached the 16s women's division and lead them to winning a bid for Junior Nationals, but ended up turning it down to go to AAU's. Daniel is an NCVA Men's Gold Division player and is excited to share his love and knowledge of the game to his players.
 

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Serah Pele

17 Pele, Head Coach



 

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Cris Pessin

11 Cris, Head Coach
16 Saga, Assistant Coach




Bio Coming Soon

 

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Nino Rebancos

17 Pele, Assistant Coach



Nino Rebancos brings a wealth of knowledge in the sport of volleyball. He also is a dual sport athlete who played college and competitive basketball in college back in the the Philippines. He also played for the Men's CCSF Volleyball Club for the 2012-2013 season.

His coaching career began in 2016 at Drew High School in San Francisco. He is still currently coaching there. He returns for his third season at SF Elite and very excited to share his love of volleyball.

When he's not coaching, he participates in NAGVA and various adult tournaments.

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Chai Saelee

17 Daniel, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Eric Salazar

13 Salazar, Co-Head Coach



Eric Salazar has been coaching club and high school volleyball for over a decade. He has coached teams aged 12-17s, many of which (8 out of 11) earned bids for the USAV Junior National Championships. Many of his players have gone on to play in college at different divisions; some of them have even become coaches in other clubs. This is Erics 2nd year with SF Elite having previously coached for Frisco Bay since their inception in 2008. Eric also coached both South San Francisco High Schools JV and Varsity teams from 2011-2014. They went undefeated in the Peninsula Athletic League in JV in his first year, followed by a Top 2 finish for his Varsity team in 2013. The Varsity team also qualified for the 2014 CCS Playoffs the next year.. Most recently, Erics Elite 17s team finished 11th last year in the 2019 NCVA Power League and Top 24 at AAU Championships in Orlando, Florida.

Eric works as Network Operations Engineer in a high tech company in Redwood City and spends a lot of his time with his family watching stand up comedies and -- of course -- keeps up with a lot of professional volleyball highlights on Youtube :).

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Gaea Salazar

13 Salazar, Co-Head Coach



Coach Gaea's volleyball career started in 2008 with SF Tremors 12-1 and continued with Frisco Bay Sports Club 13-1s to 17-1s. Her teams qualified for the Girls Junior National Championship in 2008, 2009, and 2010. As for her school career, Coach Gaea played 4 years of varsity at South San Francisco High School and made CCS playoffs in 2013. She continued to play at City College of San Francisco where she was awarded 1st Team All Conference 2013 and 2014 as well as Player of the Year 2013 and 2014. Coach Gaea transferred to University of Hawaii at Mnoa where she continued to play intramural league.

Coach Gaea started coaching in 2013 with Frisco Bay Sports Club and qualified for the Girls Junior National Championships in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. She had the opportunity to coach SF Elite 17s Eric at the AAU championships in the summer of 2019. AAU 2019 was the best national coaching experience shes had yet and shes excited for more.

Coach Gaea graduated magnum cum laude from University of Hawaii at Mnoa with a B.S. in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science with an emphasis in Health and Exercise Science. She is currently preparing for graduate school in pursuit of her Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree. During her free time, Coach Gaea enjoys weight lifting, bouldering, and visiting her sisters in Las Vegas and Hawaii. Feel free to say hi at the gym!

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Michael Sun

15 Jason, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Lynna Tang

17 Daniel, Assistant Coach



Bio Coming Soon

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Stephany Vanhorn

12 Stephany, Head Coach



Stephany Vanhorn has been coaching volleyball for 4 years and has been playing volleyball for over 15 years. She was a four year varsity letterman in high school at St. Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda where she earned 1st Team All-League honors. Stephany has played club volleyball for 8 years at Club Kalani and played at Cal State East Bay her freshmen year as an Outside Hitter. Stephany is excited to teach and share her skills this volleyball season.

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Stephanie Wong

14 Christina, Assistant Coach



Stephanie Wong has been playing volleyball since 5th grade. She has participated in two Junior Olympics in her playing career. Her final club tournament was at Junior Olympics in 2006 while playing for Coach Saga Vae. In 2006, she made the transition to coaching. Her 2013 12's area league team finished second in the region. In 2014, her 14-1 Hawks team finished first at the Pacific Northwest Qualifier and competed in the Junior National Championships in Minneapolis, MN. Stephanie's 2018 12's team qualifed for JNC at the Red Rock Rave in Las Vegas and competed in the JNC located in Detroit, MI. In the second season wtih Elite, her 12's team finished first at the Far Western National Qualifier and qualified for Junior Nationals in Indianapolis, IN. The team also finished top 4 in the region. During the shortened 2020 season, her 13's team qualified for Junior Nationals in Dallas, TX.

In addition to coaching club, she has coached at the both high school and middle school levels. Stephanie was a volunteer assistant coach at South San Francisco High School under Coach Saga Vae. She has also coached at both St. Gabriel School for three years and St Cecilia School for two years. Her most recent success at that level includes leading a team to back to back division one championships finishing with a two season record of 18-2.

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Samantha Woo

17 Samantha, Head Coach



Samantha started playing competitively after high school at Skyline college. She played mostly recreational church leagues throughout high school. She now plays 9man every summer and travels every Labor Day weekend all over the country.

Samantha started coaching high school spring of 2016 at Wallenberg high school for the boys and coaching Frisco Bay club in 2017. She started and is still currently coaching Lowell high school JV girls since Fall 2016 and Varsity boys spring 2017-2019. She helped bring her jv girls to championships 4 years in a row winning in 2016, 2017 and 2019. She also brought her boys in appearance to championships in 2018 and getting into playoffs in 2019. She started coaching at SF Elite in 2019 and is currently still coaching the girls. Shes very excited for this upcoming season!