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PELLA — Former University of Pittsburgh standout Hali Hillegas is the new varsity assistant volleyball coach at Central College.

Hillegas, a Charles City, Iowa native, was a second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a libero for the Panthers, who captured the 2019 ACC crown with an 18-0 mark and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship tourney. She transferred to Pitt after three seasons at Iowa State University, where she gained AVCA honorable mention all-America honors in 2017 and was a first-team all-Big 12 selection as well as the league’s libero of the year. She was a seven-time Big 12 defensive player of the week.

“I think that Hali has a really bright future,” head coach Jeanne Czipri said. “She’s going to add a lot of experience and knowledge on our first contact on our defense.”

Hillegas was a four-time academic all-conference honoree and appreciates the NCAA Division III approach of balancing academics and athletics, Czipri said.

“She loves that academics come first here,” she said. “But she’s competitive. She cares about relationships. I think she’s going to bring a lot of good energy and a lot of really great ideas.

“She played under two great but very different coaching staffs and learned a lot from that.”

At Pitt, Hillegas led the team with 4.26 digs per set, which ranked second in the ACC, racking up 26 digs in a match with Louisville. She was one of three players to compete in all 111 sets in 2019 and was tabbed for the ChampYinz Invitational all-tournament squad.

At Charles City High School she was a four-year letterwinner and a two-time first-team Class 4A all-state selection. She notched 330 kills with a sizzling .451 hitting percentage as a senior for the Comets, who reached the state quarterfinals. Hillegas helped lead Charles City to the state crown as a sophomore. She also competed in basketball, track and field and softball  in high school.

Hillegas begins her duties Nov. 5 with the Dutch, who are nearing the end of fall workouts while preparing for the 2020-21 season which was postponed to the spring due to the global pandemic.

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