(KMAland) -- A four-time state champion, an Iowa State All-American and arguably the greatest volleyball player in KMAland history is our latest KMA Sports Hall of Fame announcement.

The incomparable Jess Schaben had over 2,000 kills, hit .413 or better all four years of high school and accumulated nearly 300 blocks during an outstanding volleyball career at Harlan.

“It’s really good memories to look back on,” Schaben told KMA Sports. “I made my best friends through sports, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Just really good, happy memories.”

Schaben’s numbers are awe-inspiring on their own, but they were also accompanied by a pair of state volleyball championships – believed to be the first two in KMAland history. Harlan captured the 2013 and 2014 Class 4A state championships in volleyball, and each year they followed those titles with 2013-14 and 2014-15 championships in basketball.

The 2015 Harlan graduate was also a huge piece of the puzzle in hoops, helping the Cyclones to three state championship games and two title triumphs. That included a 52-game win streak over the two seasons.

In the 2013-14 year, Schaben averaged a team-high 12.4 points per game, shot 64.4 percent from the field and also led the team with 210 rebounds and 133 blocks. As a senior, she averaged 13.5 points per game and again led the team with 189 rebounds and 117 blocks.

But it’s volleyball where Schaben will be most remembered, as she went on to a stellar career at Iowa State University.

“My mom was a coach in Harlan, so I used to go with her to the camps,” Schaben said. “Pretty much everything she did, I was there with her. I think that started my love for the sport.”

Schaben began to play club volleyball in sixth grade, something she says was “probably the best thing I could have done for volleyball.”

“I always had really high goals for volleyball,” she added. “I think my parents always believed in me, and I never really doubted myself. I even remember being in elementary school, and my teacher got mad at me for not reading. I told her, ‘Well, I’m going to play college volleyball so it doesn’t matter.’”

Schaben is quick to point out that reading does matter, but it goes to show she’s always been a goal-oriented person when it came to her volleyball career. It’s also a career that now takes her to Baton Rouge where she will play beach volleyball for Louisiana State University while she works on her Master’s degree.

“I’m really excited to try something new and see how far that can take me as well,” Schaben said.

Schaben will be honored as a member of the 2019 KMA Sports Hall of Fame class at a later date to be determined. Listen to the complete interview with Schaben below.


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