AMES — Mackenzie Bigbee has never really been one to embrace the limelight.
And although the right-side hitter hasn’t been immersed in the role of a go-to player to this point in her career, the junior from Williamsburg, Iowa, will asked to do quite a bit more this season.
“Everything’s just got to be a little bit better, a little bit more from her,” said ISU Coach Chrisy Johnson-Lynch. “I thought attack-wise she was good last year. Her stats were good, they were solid, but we want her to be an All-American.”
As a sophomore, Bigbee started all 28 games for Iowa State and played in 101 of 102 possible sets. She also led the Cyclones — and was sixth in the Big 12 — with 324 kills, averaging 3.21 per set.
But this season, Iowa State will be searching for a replacement for the graduated libero Kristen Hahn. Even though Bigbee doesn’t play the same position as the Cedar Rapids Kennedy grad, there are other ways she knows she has to be a leader and step out of her comfort zone.
“It helps me when [the coaches] tell me that stuff so I can be like, ‘OK I really need to work on that.’ It’s just about trying to do what’s best for the team,” Bigbee said. “That’s best for the team so it doesn’t matter if it’s comfortable for me or not to do it, I just really have to work on that.”
Bigbee was also named to the Big 12 Preseason Team for the second season in a row and has tried to develop her skill of being an all-rotation player. Johnson-Lynch would like to see her develop her back-row attack, while still adjusting become more comfortable with not flying under the radar.
“Just continuing to ask her to embrace that a little bit and be comfortable with taking over matches and being OK with being the player that gets the most sets or the media wants to talk to after the match,” Johnson-Lynch said. “That takes time, you can’t flip a switch and become that person, and she’s continuing to work on that and continuing to make strides.”