Jan. 11, 2013
By Gary Ozzello
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - It didn't take Shelby Schaefer very long to find the pool.
Schaefer will lead Colorado State's water polo team this week as the Rams open the season with an exhibition contest against Cal State-Northridge Jan. 14 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
The Rams then jump into regular-season competition at Michigan's Kickoff-Off tournament, opening one of the most challenging schedules in the country.
Of 24 games scheduled to date, 12 of the teams on the slate were ranked in the top 20 at the end of last season, including Stanford, the defending national champion.
"I think we're going to be really solid this year. We only graduated two seniors, so I think we have a great team. We have a lot of athletic incoming freshmen and some experienced returners, so I'm excited for a good season," she said.
Schaefer is a senior from Roseville, Calif., who swam at Air Force as a freshman in 2009-10, then transferred to Colorado State.
She's been a mainstay for Colorado State's program, and figures if the Rams maintain their focus, they will achieve success in 2013.
"We have a time period where we have two or three weeks without any games, so keeping up the intensity and not letting down will be really important. We have a really fast team this year, so I think we need to use that to our advantage," she said.
Schaefer is a team captain as chosen by her teammates. She enters her final season of competition ninth in the program's history in career goals (71) and seventh in assists (61)--including 38 last season, second-most in school history.
Her prominence in the pool for the Rams should come as no surprise considering her athletic heritage. Her father, Marty, played football at San Jose State. She also had plenty of pool influence from older sisters Valerie (Cal State-Northridge) and Lindsay (Air Force) who both swam, and Cassie, a water polo player at UC Davis.
Schaeffer knows many fans may be unfamiliar with the nuances of her sport.
"I think the biggest surprise to new water polo fans is that we're not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool. The other thing is how physical it is. The Olympics had the underwater cameras, which showed fans all of the grabbing, touching, pushing. You get to see a little bit of that from surface level, but a lot of what's going on is under water."
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04/28/2013Despite a 12-7 loss to Santa Clara on Sunday, CSU finished fourth at the WWPA Championships, tying the program's best mark. It was a bittersweet day, as it was the program's final game. Read More [+]04/27/2013The CSU water polo team played an exceptional first half against top-seeded UC San Deigo, but a second-half scoring drought gave the Tritons a 14-6 win Saturday in the semifinals. Read More [+]04/26/2013The CSU water polo team picked up a big win on Friday, defeating Sonoma State in the quarterfinals of the WWPA Championships, 9-8. The win guarantees CSU a top-four finish. Read More [+]04/25/2013The CSU water polo team enters this weekend's WWPA Championships in Santa Clara, Calif., as the No. 4 seed, tying its best-ever seed. The Rams will face Sonoma State on Friday in the quarterfinals. Read More [+]04/22/2013The CSU water polo team earned a program-record four postseason honors Monday, as three different Rams were recognized by the WWPA, including Ariel Arcidiacono as the Newcomer of the Year. Read More [+]04/15/2013Twenty-two former Colorado State water polo players rejoined the program on Saturday for CSU's first reunion game. In all, 40 of the program's 63 all-time players were in attendance. Read More [+]04/10/2013The CSU water polo team will host a reunion game on Saturday, bringing back 15-20 former players. The scrimmage will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the VMAC in Thornton. Admission is free. Read More [+]04/07/2013The CSU water polo team concluded its regular season on Sunday, falling to Santa Clara and No. 8 Hawai'i. The Rams will next compete at the WWPA Championships (April 26-28). Read More [+]04/06/2013After a loss to UC San Diego early in the day, the Rams came back for a close win against Cal State Monterey Bay Saturday afternoon in the first day of The Bronco. Read More [+]04/05/2013Colorado State (7-16, 2-3 WWPA) began its California weekend with a challenging day against WWPA conference foe Cal State East Bay, losing the pairing 13-8. Read More [+]04/04/2013The CSU water polo team will play in its final regular-season games this weekend. The Rams will play a WWPA contest at Cal State East Bay on Friday, followed by four games in The Bronco. Read More [+]03/25/2013Sunday was a challenge for the Colorado State water polo team. The Rams faced two top-20 teams, falling to No. 19 Hartwick, 18-5, and No. 2 Stanford, 16-6. Read More [+]03/23/2013Competing twice on Day 2 of the Arizona State Tournament, CSU earned a split, defeating La Verne, 13-9, after falling to No. 18 Michigan, 12-4, at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. Read More [+]03/22/2013Playing in one of the most challenging tournaments in the country, Colorado State feels as if it let a win slip away on Friday, dropping two on the first day of action from the Mona Plummer Aquatic... Read More [+]03/20/2013After a 3-1 weekend in California, the Rams return to the pool for arguably their most challenging week of the season, facing four ranked teams in three days at the Arizona State Tournament. Read More [+]