Hays High's Brooklyn Schaffer to continue volleyball career in Florida
As she honed her skills as a volleyball player, Hays High's Brooklyn Schaffer had a role model to look up to in older sister Albany Schaffer, who played collegiately at Division I Louisiana-Monroe.
When it came time to choose a college, Brooklyn again leaned on Albany throughout the recruiting process.
"She's the one I look up to in great amounts," Schaffer said. "She has been very helpful with recruiting, just helping me with what to say and what I need to look for. And career wise, she's the most hard-working person I know, so it's great to have someone like that to look up to who reached the goals that she did."
Brooklyn settled on Florida State College at Jacksonville, signing her letter of intent with the BlueWave on Friday at Hays High.
"I had been through the recruiting process with my sister, so I kind of saw how it went," Schaffer said. "When I went through it myself, it was way more stressful than I thought it wasn't going to be, sending tons of emails, seeing which coaches reached out.
"With COVID happening this year, it was really difficult because everyone got a year of eligibility back, and it was harder to go visit schools."
But after a campus visit to FSCJ, Schaffer knew she found a great fit.
"It just felt like it was the right place for me and where I was supposed to be at," she said. "I loved the city, loved the coaches. It was just perfect for me."
"Florida's super far," she added, "but I know it's going to be such a great experience for me."
Schaffer, an All-Western Athletic Conference libero for the Indians, will look to use her time at the junior college as a stepping stone.
"I definitely wanted to go in and play right away," Schaffer said. "Going juco was the best option for me. I will be looking to play on after."
Hays High first-year head volleyball coach Shannon Funk praised Schaffer's senior leadership.
"She was such a great leader in her effort," Funk said. "She always brought it at practice. She's constantly trying to hone her craft and get better at all times, and she demonstrated that level of focus and intensity all the time.
"She is fiercely competitive, which helps a lot during practice, too, because it keeps the drills going competitive and going smoothly."
Brooklyn said Albany's passion for the sport rubbed off on her.
"When I saw her going on (to college), I knew I could do it," Schaffer said. "It's always just something that I've been passionate about and wanting to do."
"The fact that they have such a great relationship, I think, was super helpful," Funk said. "Sometimes when you're the younger sibling you feel like you've got to live up to things that maybe don't fit you. But because they're so close, I don't know that that pressure was there. I think it was a natural fit for Brooklyn, and I think Albany just really helped her grow and gave her a lot of great advice."
Funk said what sets Schaffer apart as a player is her instinct defensively and great passing ability.
"She's incredibly fast, and her experience in the game makes her great at reading where the ball is going to be going," Funk said. "She's in the right spot most of the time, getting that ball picked up.
"Her pass rating is incredible. We usually set a standard, about 2.3 means you're a good passer. She passed on the whole season a 2.4, and she regularly had games at 2.8 ... Those numbers are incredible."
Funk said she expects Schaffer to fit in seamlessly at the next level.
"When you step up to the next level, you're one among many who are great," Funk said. "I think Brooklyn will not having a problem being in that role. She's one of those kids that is humble and understands that there are lots of girls that are great at volleyball. I think that when she gets in there, my only advice would be: Listen to your coach, do everything they tell you to do and do it at your 100 percent best. She's great at that.
"I'm not worried about her at all. I would not be surprised one tiny bit if she plays a lot as a freshman. "
Schaffer plans on studying biomedical science and hopes to become a doctor.
She said expects to see the Hays High program make big strides under Funk.
"Shannon is awesome. She's going to do wonders for this program," Schaffer said. "... I think the program has a really big success rate coming up."