Jan 272005
Authors: Andrew Woerpel

Growing up, Holly Stanfill never expected to end up in Colorado playing for the CSU women's water polo team.

Stanfill, born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., was introduced to water polo in eighth grade by a friend.

"We were both planning to go to the same high school and he told me to try out for it (water polo) because he thought it was fun, so I was like, 'Why not, I'll try it,'" Stanfill said.

Stanfill has played water polo ever since that day. She said it has taken up a lot of her time since she started.

"Water polo is really big in Sacramento, so there are a lot of club teams and summer programs and stuff. I started in a summer program that ended up going into a high school program," Stanfill said.

Water polo grew to be quite a popular sport by the time Stanfill graduated.

"It was pretty small when I started, and then when I ended up graduating high school it was huge. It grew a lot," she said.

Stanfill attended a community college before she came to CSU. She was in her sophomore year, eagerly awaiting the chance to play for a Division 1 water polo program. Her chance came sooner than expected.

"I was looking for some schools to play at and one girl on my team happened to look at CSU's Web site just to go to school there, and there was big article on their program starting," Stanfill said. "So my coach called John (Mattos, head coach of the team) and then John called her back an hour later to talk about it."

Coming to CSU, Stanfill, the team's co-captain, did not really know what to expect of her teammates, especially since this season will be CSU's very first in water polo.

"I didn't expect there to be very much talent because it's hard to recruit a brand-new program like this," Stanfill said. "I expected it to be a lot of work, and I didn't expect very many people out here to know very much about water polo."

After a few practices with the team, Stanfill realized her expectations were a little off.

"The training part was a lot harder than I expected, the talent was a lot better than I expected and I'm happier now being out here than I expected myself to be," Stanfill said.

Stanfill truly believes in her role as captain, especially considering her knowledge of the game.

"I think I have to be very motivating and very positive. I feel a lot of the girls look up to me to kind of guide them through everything," Stanfill said. "I have to be knowledgeable about the sport and be able to teach everybody anything they need to know."

While fulfilling her duties as captain, Stanfill feels she must have the respect of her fellow teammates.

"The biggest quality I would need to have is their (the players') respect, and I think I have it," Stanfill said. "It's a big responsibility, but I enjoy it and I think I'm doing a pretty good job at it."

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