April 25, 2013

Volleyball Signs Three to NLIs In 2013 Spring Class

The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi Volleyball team added three new faces to the 2013 signing class recently, with Shaquinn Parker, Nicole Soifua and Abigail Whitehead inking with the Islanders during the spring signing period.

Parker and Soifua are both 6'0", while Whitehead is 6'1" as the Islanders continue to add height to the lineup.

"Along with Morgan Carlson who signed in November, and two highly recruited walk-ons, this concludes the signing class for the 2013 season," said head coach Tony Graystone. "We ended up signing more players than we initially anticipated, but I'm very excited about this class and what they are going to bring to our team."

Parker will help develop the offense from the middle blocker position for the Islanders. She was all-district at Tascosa High School, a 5A school in her hometown of Amarillo, in both 2011 and 2012, and was runner-up for the MVP award at an All-Star tournament this past year. She is the daughter of Charles and Carolyn Parker, and is the youngest of three children. Parker plans to major in psychology while attending the University.

"Shaquinn is ultra-athletic, with a big jump and fast arm," said Graystone. "She's going to score a lot of points and give our team an offensive look that's been missing from our middle blockers.  Shaquinn has unlimited potential, and I'm really looking forward to working with her and seeing her game develop. "

Soifua comes to The Island from Western Wyoming Community College, where she played two years as a right side hitter for the Mustangs. She helped her team to a second place national finish as a freshman while going 39-3 overall. During her sophomore season, Soifua added 68 kills and 56 total blocks to help lead her team to a second place finish in their region.

She is the daughter of Al and Shirley Soifua, and is the oldest of four children. She is originally from Syracuse, Utah. She plans to major in communication at Texas A&M – Corpus Christi.

"Nicole had an accomplished career at her junior college and will be a great fit with the Islanders," said Graystone. "She covers the net well and puts up a strong block on defense, while offensively she plays way above the net and hits a really heavy ball.  Nicole's game fits our system well, and she's going to have two great years as an Islander."

Whitehead hails from Sunnyvale, Texas, and is a 6'1" middle blocker/outside hitter that totaled 438 kills as a senior to go along with 273 digs, 64.5 total blocks and 55 aces on a team that finished 24-15 on the year. She was named Hitter of the Year, TGCA All-State, was a TGCA All-Star and was also named to the Greater Dallas All-VYPE Team. She holds the school record for kills and blocks. In addition to her volleyball accolades, Whitehead was also a TGCA All-State player in basketball. She is the daughter of Richard and Lori Whitehead, and has one older brother. She is undecided on her college major.

"Abby is a strong offensive player, and we feel fortunate to pick her up so late in the recruiting season," said Graystone. "She works hard in transition, can score anywhere along the net, and has the best slide we've seen in our program recently. Abby's personality and court presence make her a great teammate and our team is going to really enjoy playing with her."

The three players will join the returners for the Islanders in what Graystone is confident will be another improved season for the program.

"We are going to be very young at a couple of key positions, but we have more than enough experience and leadership returning to make this a smooth adjustment and allow us to continue toward our goal of winning a Southland Conference championship," said Graystone. "The team finished the spring playing some outstanding volleyball and we are all looking forward to August and beginning the 2013 season."

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