Volleyball isn’t everything to Elizabeth Shelton, and that’s a good thing.

The redshirt freshman from Southern California takes academics seriously. She was one of her high school’s valedictorians and is a pre-neuroscience major at the UA.

“She’s about as driven in that area of her life as she is in volleyball, in fact, maybe even more so,” UA coach Dave Rubio said. “I know that volleyball is very important for her, but from the academic side, she tends to be really focused on doing well in school.”

The intensive academic load gives Shelton a perspective that some of her teammates may lack. The Wildcats fell to No. 13 UCLA on Wednesday night, and while Shelton hates losing, she said her team team shouldn’t dwell on what happened in that match.

“Whatever is in your future is waiting for you in front of you, not behind you,” she said.

In front of the Wildcats next? A match at No. 15 USC on Friday night.

“Even if we make mistakes, it’s not the mistake but what happens afterward,” Shelton said. “It’s not focusing on our individual mistakes, but having the mindset of, ‘How can I better myself for the team?’”

Rubio said Shelton is someone who “burns hot from a competitive standpoint.”

She should be an outstanding player for Arizona with her competitiveness and physical talent. The 6-foot-2-inch outside hitter may be one of the Wildcats’ top athletes.

Whether it is academics or volleyball, Rubio thinks of Shelton as someone who’s unafraid to be different.

“People love Liz because of her uniqueness,” Rubio said. “Some people I’ve experienced in the past feel uncomfortable with that. With Liz, she owns it. She’s not worried about being part of a social group. She’s not worried about whether or not she’s fitting in the norm.”