AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State volleyball team was well represented in the Big 12’s postseason honors, anncouned by the conference Monday afternoon. Hali Hillegas was named the Big 12 Libero of the Year, marking the ninth time in the last 10 years ISU has received the honor. Hillegas also made the All-Big 12 First Team along with Jess Schaben and Samara West. Avery Rhodes was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
Hillegas resumes Iowa State’s hold of the Big 12 Libero of the Year award after the Cyclones’ eight-year run ended last season. Hillegas also picked up her first career All-Big 12 First Team honor. The redshirt sophomore from Charles City leads the Big 12 and ranks 15th in the NCAA with her 5.61 digs per set. She has had at least 10 digs in every match this season, and has had 13 matches with at least 20 digs.
Schaben is a repeat member of the All-Big 12 First Team, and now a three-time All-Big 12 honoree after making the Second Team in 2015. Schaben stepped up her all-around game this season, leading Iowa State with 3.28 kills per set, and ranking second on the team with 3.05 digs per frame. The junior from Defiance, Iowa ranked fifth in Big 12 matches for kills per set at 3.57 and also averaged 3.27 digs per set against league opponents.
West got the promotion to All-Big 12 First Team this season after making the All-Big 12 Second Team a year ago. The redshirt senior from Omaha ranksed second on the Cyclones with 2.92 kills per set at a team-best .299 hitting percentage. She was also a crucial component of the Cyclone block that has improved to No. 8 in the country this season, averaging 0.81 blocks per frame from her right side position.
Rhodes’ appearance on the All-Freshman Team marks the sixth-straight season a Cyclone has been on the All-Freshman Team. Despite not entering the Cyclones’ starting lineup until the fourth week of the season, her play has been impactful for Iowa State. The Waco, Texas native leads Iowa State with 1.23 blocks per set on the season, which ranks her third in the Big 12. In recent weeks, Rhodes has stepped up her game on offense. The final three matches of the season saw her average 2.67 kills per set at a .605 hitting percentage, while also recording 1.56 blocks per set in that trio of matches.
To see the full All-Big 12 teams, and postseason award winners, click here.
No. 22 Iowa State will be in action in the First Round of the 2017 NCAA Volleyball Championship inside Hilton Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m. against Princeton.