Nov. 15, 2011
By Jon Cooper
Alexis Woodson stands 6-1.
That’s plenty big enough to stand out among the Georgia Tech student body — any student body for that matter.
In a volleyball context, however, 6-1 makes her the low woman at her position of middle blocker, where the junior spots an inch to senior Asia Stawicka and freshman Ashtaan Horton and two to sophomore Quinn Evans and junior Annie Czarnecki, both 6-3.
But Woodson prefers to live by the adage about the size of the fight in the dog mattering more than the size of the dog in the fight.
“I’m a little short for my position but I’ve always helped myself by letting my speed and my jumping ability take me as far as they can go,” she said. “So far it’s been really successful. I have yet to let my height or any of that determine how I will play volleyball.”
She’s not about to let that start now. With three matches remaining in the 2011 season, Woodson is looking to continue to show her ability to play big and be a difference-maker, an attitude that has her tied with Stawicka at 59 blocks, second on the team (only Monique Mead has more total).
The Atlanta native and older sister of redshirt sophomore outside hitter Mariah, is eager to finish strong in the final three matches, starting Friday night, against Miami (23-3, 14-3), at O’Keefe Gym. Tech concludes the weekend Saturday night against Florida State (22-5, 16-1), then concludes the season Wednesday against Clemson (18-10, 10-7).
The Miami-FSU weekend is big for the Yellow Jackets, who are looking to bounce back from a tough weekend, where they fell in road matches at North Carolina and NC State.
Woodson is confident the team can do so by simply doing what they do best.
“We have to remain confident, have fun and just play Georgia Tech volleyball and remember what our goal is,” she said. “It’s to have fun in the process of doing it and just remember what we’re focusing on for the season.”
The Jackets will enter the weekend tied for sixth in the ACC at 15-13, 8-9 in the conference, but entertain a possibility of passing Clemson for fifth place in the ACC. They also know they can play with the Florida schools, losing in three sets at Florida State (25-19, 25-23, 25-21) back on Oct. 14, then winning in four sets at Miami (11-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-21) two days later.
“We have two tough matches, they’re two good teams,” she said. “We have to be ready to execute early and finish the matches as well.”
Similarly, Woodson has plans on how she’d like to finish her college career. She’s got the blueprint in place and is getting a head start on it now.
“Going into next year I really want to focus on being more constant, being a player that everybody knows and everybody has to watch out for,” she said. “I’ve been on kind of a roller coaster but I’m really starting to establish now what my shots are, where I like to run and how can I be more effective knocking balls down and getting more space on my blocking as well, to just stop the other teams on their run. I want to be a presence, where other teams know, ‘Okay, she’s another girl we have to watch out for.’
“I know what I’m capable of doing and I feel like I can give so much more as far as blocks, defense, hitting,” she added. “I just want to be that player to where I can hit anything, anywhere.”
She’ll start by taking aim at Miami, Florida State and Clemson.