Opposing front lines facing Mansfield’s volleyball team may snicker a bit when they face the Lady Tigers at the net.
With a 5-6 middle blocker staring into their chest, they likely get a false sense of confidence.
Test her. Go ahead and try it.
Autumn Godsey, more times than not, will meet them high over the net to challenge an attack. And protect yourself when the ball comes off her hit.
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I don’t hear it, but I can see it on their face. I’m sure they’re thinking they can hit around me.
Autumn Godsey, 5-6 middle blocker for Mansfield
Godsey, a senior at Mansfield, was moved from the right side to the middle, where the Lady Tigers needed to fill a hole. The hole has been filled in and some dirt added on top.
The size difference may be obvious, so does Godsey get the sense she’s being — forgive the term — overlooked?
“I don’t hear it, but I can see it on their face,” Godsey said about being sized up by her opponents. “I’m sure they’re thinking they can hit around me. But the team works so well together, people are shocked at the end.”
Indeed, the Lady Tigers are in playoff contention in District 10-6A and recently downed Arlington, another hot team near the top of the standings.
Part of the reason Godsey can contend with taller players may involve her 25-inch vertical leap, although she feels she likely can jump higher now.
“Playing at the top of the net isn’t a problem,” she said.
Being able to make the move from the right side to the middle may have been easier than trying to get back into the game after suffering a broken ankle. She fractured it last spring when she landed on another player’s foot.
It was the one day she said she decided not to wear an ankle brace. Murphy’s Law prevails.
But during her rehab, Godsey continued to hit the weight room and it has shown benefits as her hits can be scary-powerful.
One of her strongest attributes, though, may be her leadership.
Her teammates witnessed her making the transition to a difficult position where a player has to make more reads and focus on alignment in order to close the block.
Godsey was voted by her team as a co-captain partly because of her her admittedly loud verbal presence. “I’m loud, and it can get into the head of an opponent. But I think I bring positivity and can help the team when we need to fix this or that,” she said.
Her ability to make that transition and lead may have been the plan all along by head coach Taylor Elrod, who said Godsey has become an “essential player” to the team.
“She’s stepped into a giant hole, position wise, and has thrived this season. She embodies the theme ‘team before self.’ All of this after she fractured her ankle in the off season and had to sit out for months,” Elrod said.
The hope of making the playoffs and getting past just the first round keeps driving Godsey and her teammates.
“It’s every volleyball girl’s dream to make it far in the playoffs,” Godsey said.