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Lady Titans headed to VC

By Julie Garcia
Feb. 28, 2014 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 27, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

Victoria East seniors Jada Whitby and Destani Villarreal pose for pictures with their families after announcing they will attend Victoria College next fall to play volleyball.

Two Victoria East seniors will be Pirates in the fall.

But instead of swashbuckling and looking for buried treasure, Jada Whitby and Destani Villarreal will be playing volleyball for the Victoria College Pirates.

The two Lady Titans agreed to play volleyball for Victoria College on Friday in the East gym surrounded by family, friends, coaches Jamye Pauley, from East, Josh Moore, from Victoria College, and Mike Johnson, from Southern Swing Volleyball Club.

Villarreal, who made first team for All-District 30-4A in 2012 and 2013, wasn't ready to be far from home yet.

"I would get more playing time here than a bigger college," Villarreal said, who has played volleyball since the sixth grade. "It's very important to me to come back for the East games."

Villarreal and Whitby also played for Southern Swing volleyball club.

Watching her former teammates play in the next couple of years will be icing on the cake for Villarreal, but Pauley also looks forward to keeping up with her players.

"It's always nice to watch kids play after they graduate," she said. "It's a big transition from high school to college - it goes from something you like to being a job; you really have to love it. These two girls are very dedicated and very hard working."

Pauley said they will be irreplaceable, making a sad face when talking about next season.

"It'll be hard because they are two girls who are so central to a program, not just skill-wise, but leadership-wise," Pauley said.

Whitby said she chose Victoria College because it's in her hometown, has a great volleyball program and offers the career she wants to major in - nursing.

"Staying close to my family is very important to me," Whitby said.

Whitby made the first team for All-District 30-4A two years in a row, along with the Advocate All-Area volleyball team for 2013.

In the last four years at East, she said she would remember making history the most.

"Going to the third round of playoffs my senior year, we made history in the volleyball program," Whitby said. "I love the team this year; they're all great girls and I'll come back to watch games."

Lady Pirates coach Moore said he likes to "work from the inside out" in finding good players for the Pirates.

Being an official in high school games, Moore sees many of Crossroads' finest from a different point of view than a scout.

"Midway through the season, we really wanted (Villarreal and Whitby) because of their energy," Moore said. "Both have so much energy on the court."

The Lady Pirates only have four returners for next fall, but Moore doesn't believe it will be a "rebuilding" year.

"It's going to be work but I'm excited about the girls coming in, and I have high hopes for the girls to be productive."

Moore said they are also looking at seniors from Goliad and Schulenburg for next year.

The Pirates play 48 games from August to April. The players have three years of eligibility.

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