Pine Tree volleyball standouts Carmen Chatman and Natalie Buckner locked up the first two years of their college futures on Friday, signing national letters of intent during a ceremony at The Pirate Center.
Chatman will stay close to home and play at Panola College in Carthage, while Buckner will trek seven hours north to play at Clarendon College.
Pine Tree head volleyball coach Lacy Dennis said the two junior college programs are getting a leader in Chatman and an ideal teammate in Buckner.
"Carmen is a pure example of true leadership," Dennis said. "She can demand a lot from her team, and they respect it. They know that Carmen will always give 10 times more than what she is asking of them. She fought relentlessly for each ball, each play and her team no matter what the circumstances. Countless times in the season other coaches and officials would ask about her because Carmen's hard work was undeniable and astonishing."
Chatman finished her senior season with 132 kills, a .259 hitting percentage, 43 aces, a 95.6 serving percentage, 429 digs, 701 assists and 43.5 blocks.
Panola, which is coached by former Pine Tree standout Nicole McCray, finished 20-12 overall and 10-6 in conference play this past season. The Fillies reside in the Region XIV Conference along with Trinity Valley, Navarro, Blinn, Tyler, Wharton, Lee, Coastal Bend and Victoria.
"Natalie is an awesome example of a teammate," Dennis said of Buckner. "This season she was playing like I've never seen her. Confident, scooping up huge digs and serving lights out. Then, she suffered a season-ending injury just before round two of district. Despite this, she coached up her teammates selflessly and encouraged those moving into her position."
Buckner was able to play a few play in her senior night game, and managed to snag two digs and put down a kill.
Buckner finished her senior year with 99 kills, 43 aces, 213 digs, 40 assists and 23 blocks.
Clarendon went 3-24 a year ago and was 0-14 in conference play competing in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference with New Mexico Junior College, New Mexico Military Institute, Odessa, Midland, Frank Phillips, Amarillo and Western Texas.
"Both of thee ladies will be missed next season," Dennis said. "The younger ones have huge leadership and encouragement roles to fill."