Three Cyclones make Preseason All-Big 12 team


Then junior Jess Schaben attempts to block the ball during Iowa State’s second round loss to Wisconsin at the NCAA Tournament. 

Cliff Wise

Iowa State was heavily present on the Preseason All-Big 12 team that was announced by the conference on Wednesday.

Three Cyclones received honors: Hali Hillegas, redshirt junior libero and returning first-team All-Big 12 selection, senior outside hitter Jess Schaben and senior middle blocker Grace Lazard.

The Cyclones haven’t had three players on the Preseason All-Big 12 team since Mackenzie Bigbee, Kristen Hahn and Victoria Hurtt were picked by the coaches in 2013.

Hillegas, a Charles City, Iowa native, is no stranger to Big 12 honors. Last season she was an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Honorable Mention All-American, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and the Big 12 Libero of the Year. She led Cyclones and the Big 12 with 5.60 digs per set and a minimum of 10 digs in each match in 2017.

Schaben, a 6-foot-2 setter, was also an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American and first-team All-Big 12 honoree in the previous season. She led the Cyclones with 338 kills with 3.31 per set. The preseason all American also ranked second on the team with 312 digs at 3.06 per frame.

She was the first Cyclone have a 300-kill and 300-dig season since 2011. Schaben will be competing at the Global Challenge with the USA Volleyball Collegiate National Team in Pula, Croatia this July.

Lazard earned her first career Preseason All-Big 12 honor. The London native finished 2017 with 2.41 kills and led the Cyclone frontline with 121 blocks.

The 2018 volleyball season will begin Aug. 24 for the Cyclones, when they will host Ole Miss at Hilton Coliseum.