Iowa State volleyball prepares for highly ranked freshman class

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The ISU volleyball 2015 recruiting class at Hilton Coliseum(Left to right) Hali Hillegas, libero/defensive specialist; Hannah Bailey, right-side hitter; Jess Schaben, outside hitter; Grace Lazard, middle blocker; and Remi Bowman, setter.

Trevor Holbrook

Consistency is key to a successful program. 

For 13 years as the Iowa State volleyball head coach, Christy Johnson-Lynch has replenished the Cyclones roster. 

This has led Iowa State to 11 straight NCAA Tournaments and a highly ranked freshman class year in and year out. 

This season is no different. Iowa State’s freshman class was ranked 17th in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball.com.

“[The freshmen are] really coming along,” Johnson-Lynch said after the Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage last Saturday. “You’ll see flashes of some really nice things and you could see that tonight.”

PrepVolleyball.com also ranked three of Iowa State’s recruits in the top-100: Piper Mauck (No. 24), Meegan Hart (No. 85) and Avery Rhodes (No. 91.).

Kansas City native and libero Izzy Enna is also a part of the Cyclone’s class. Enna was voted as a “Defensive Dandy” twice by PrepVolleyball.com.

The 2017 class was the highest ranked since 2015’s No. 8 ranking, featuring Hannah Bailey, Hali Hillegas and Jess Schaben.

Mauck had the luxury of integrating herself with the team in the spring as a setter after graduating high school early.

The other three weren’t here until this semester. The freshmen received their first taste of collegiate competition in an exhibition against Drake on Aug. 12.

Hart played in one set against Drake, contributing two kills on a .500 hitting percentage. At the Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage, Hart had three kills and six blocks.

Against Drake, Rhodes only played in one set, too. In that set, the Waco, Texas, native added two kills and a dig. Rhodes finished the Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage with seven kills.

“Both Meegan [Hart] and Avery [Rhodes] are learning, but yet you still see flashes of what they’re going to be,” Johnson-Lynch said.

Johnson-Lynch elected for Enna to play in two sets against Drake. Enna had one assist and one dig. In the Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage, Enna had 13 digs.

“Izzy [Enna] was pretty solid,” Johnson-Lynch said. “She passed for really nice numbers.”

Mauck, the highest 2017 Iowa State recruit, was one of five Cyclones to play in all three sets against Drake. Against the Bulldogs, Mauck racked up 13 assists and six digs.

Mauck finished the Cardinal and Gold Scrimmage with 38 assists.

“I know [Piper Mauck is] improving, and she’ll get better and better,” Johnson-Lynch said. “[I saw] flashes of some really good things from her.”

Johnson-Lynch has talked about her uncertainty of whether Iowa State will use the 6-2 rotation or the 5-1. The 6-2, a rotation utilizing two setters, could allow Mauck to see the floor more in her freshman season.

The freshmen are quality players individually, but they also have strong team values. The group of freshmen have jump-started their relationships, spending as much time as they can together.

That time spent together off the court could benefit the Cyclones and translate to success on the court.

“We all live together in the same dorm so we’re together pretty much all the time,” Mauck said. “It’s really fun and we’re all [playing] in different positions, so it’s a good experience for all of us.”