H-P Sports Writer

A new tradition could be on its way in the Palestine volleyball program.

Seniors Jessica Faggett and Kyla Pinkston signed national letters-of-intent Tuesday to play volleyball at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla. in 2006.

Faggett and Pinkston are the first two players on record from Palestine High School to earn volleyball scholarships.

“This is awesome,” Pinkston said. “Hopefully we are paving the way for other players and starting a tradition.”

Pinkston and Faggett were members of the 2005 District 21-3A champion Ladycats and aided Palestine to an undefeated record in district play and a No. 13 ranking by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.

After a heartbreaking loss to Bridge City in the area round of the 2005 UIL state playoffs, a game which both girls consider the highlight of their high school career, Pinkston and Faggett did not think they would be playing in college.

“I had no idea I’d be here today at the beginning of the season,” Faggett said. “This is a great feeling.”

Palestine volleyball has a small connection to Redlands Community College. Palestine head coach Steffany Boldrey played there in 2000 and 2001 before finishing her college career at the University of West Georgia.

“I know Steffany from when she played for me,” Redlands volleyball head coach Kristin Vincent said. “She spoke very highly of them and both are tremendous athletes and I expect them to come in and start for me.”

During the 2005 season, both Pinkston and Faggett were significant parts of the Ladycats’ championship season.

Pinkston was a first team All-District 21-3A selection and a first team H-P All-Area selection. In a span of four matches, Pinkston recorded 20 kills, 44 digs and had seven service aces.

Faggett was named District 21-3A Outstanding Setter and recorded 11 kills, 21 digs and 10 service aces in a span of five matches.

“I am looking forward to watching them play in college,” Boldrey said. “They are going to have to work hard because the level of play is a notch up, but they can do it.”

Vincent has a 189-137 record in her eight years as head coach of the Readlands Community College volleyball team and has led the Cougars to two NCJAA Region II Championships and five trips to the NCJAA Tournament.

She said the girls are in for a challenge and they can expect a lot of work when they arrive in August.

“It takes a lot of maturity and a strong work ethic to play collegiate athletics,” Vincent said. “Their work load is going to increase and they can expect long practices and lots of swimming.”

Boldrey said Pinkston and Faggett are proof that the volleyball players in East Texas are talented enough to continue playing after high school.

“This says a lot about the talent level out there in this area,” she said. “The girls in this area are talented and hopefully these two can start a tradition.”

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