This month I will be rolling out some articles that are a little different than we have been writing for the past couple of months. I will still be doing our regular highlight articles on multiple athletes for exposure, however I wanted to do some special articles on a few special athletes that we are getting to know quite well with Prep Dig TX. These young ladies volunteered to discuss their upcoming high school season and how they are planning on getting ready for it. In the spring, I have written about her school Klein High School out of Houston and I’m sure you will see many articles about her in the future. Gabby was picked because of her position on her high school team and what they are facing coming into this coming year. They are coming off of a tough loss in the Regional Finals of the State Tournament last year and are poised for another run to state with a very hungry and talented team returning. I thought it would be a good idea for our readers to get some insight into what a Libero of a team in this position thinks about in regards to her upcoming
This month I will be rolling out some articles that are a little different than we have been writing for the past couple of months. I will still be doing our regular highlight articles on multiple athletes for exposure, however I wanted to do some special articles on a few special athletes that we are getting to know quite well with Prep Dig TX. These young ladies volunteered to discuss their upcoming high school season and how they are planning on getting ready for it. In the spring, I have written about her school Klein High School out of Houston and I’m sure you will see many articles about her in the future. Gabby was picked because of her position on her high school team and what they are facing coming into this coming year. They are coming off of a tough loss in the Regional Finals of the State Tournament last year and are poised for another run to state with a very hungry and talented team returning. I thought it would be a good idea for our readers to get some insight into what a Libero of a team in this position thinks about in regards to her upcoming high school season. Without further ado, here is our article on Miss Gabby Mansfield.
Gabriela MansfieldGabrielaMansfield5'4" | LKlein | 2022StateTX
 5-5 Libero (HS: Klein/Club: Houston Skyline/Verbal: Uncommitted)
Photo: Klein High School
Gaby is currently ranked as the 77th top prospect in the state of Texas according to our Prep Dig State Rankings. I wrote an article earlier in the spring on her high school, Klein, and here is what I said then, “Gaby earned 1st Team All-District honors last season as well. According to her coach, she set last year’s single season dig record at Klein. She has also earned accolades from some other volleyball publications as well. I am impressed with the way she plays in the back row. She constantly has her feet moving and is very active. When the ball is contacted, I love how she has great body control to absorb contact from the attack. She is very active on hitter coverage as well and should be commended for that. I see some great things from this young lady in volleyball and if she continues down the path she’s currently on, she should have no problem being on college coaches’ radars soon.” Gaby is one of those players that makes a team better. She plays her role well and wants to succeed. I love her platform when she passes serve receive. It is so solid and she freezes at and after contact so well. But the aspect that makes me smile big is her defensive tenacity. This young lady does not let any ball fall anywhere near her zone. She has a great ability to stop on a dime and push off in the opposite direction to complete an emergency dig well outside of her range. She is the real deal in the libero position.
As a freshman Gaby played on varsity at a private school in Houston Concordia Lutheran High School. We finished 2nd in state and I made All State Honorable Mention team. Her sophomore year, she moved to Klein High School. After a few games and a lot of hard work, she earned the libero jersey. Gaby broke the Klein High School dig record by having 836 digs, which is 148 more that any player has ever gotten in a season. Max Preps ranked her as the #5 sophomore in the country for quantity of digs. Her high school went 41-7, winning more games than have ever been won by a team at Klein High School. They worked super hard and made it to the Regional Finals last year, which is further than Klein has ever advanced. Gaby was named Klein High School defensive player of the year, 1st team all district, Academic all district, GHVCA post season team 6A, GHVCA all academic team, TAVC all Texas team 6A, TAVC all academic team. It is safe to say that she’s doing pretty well in the sport.
Being able to play in college is way more than just the athletic ability that one possesses. It is more about the mental toughness that one has and the ability to be a great leader/teammate. Gaby definitely has that kind of mental toughness and her high school coach agrees. We sat down with Gaby and asked her a few questions about volleyball, dealing with Covid-19 and the upcoming high school season. Here is a little bit of the conversation we had. We hope you enjoy.
Prep Dig TX: Why Volleyball? Why is it so important to you? What do you love about it?
Gaby: I play volleyball because I truly love it! I played volleyball and basketball in 5thgrade and my mom told me I had to choose one. I chose volleyball and am so glad I did! I love the competitiveness and hard work it takes to be great. Volleyball is important to me because it is a release from everything stressful in my life. When I’m on the court, nothing else exists and I can’t imagine not playing. It is also important because hopefully it can help me to pay for my education and allow me to play through college. The friendships I make will last forever and we are able to create a bond that I don’t think I’d have if I didn’t have volleyball.
Prep Dig TX: What do you love about your position on the court the most?
Gaby: Being a libero is definitely a challenge! You have to have a perfect first pass, cover a lot of ground and not let any balls hit the floor. (Or at least that’s my goal!) What I love most about being a libero is that I know the rest of the play depends on what I do first. There’s a sense of responsibility that pushes me to be better every play. When we are in a pressure situation, I always hope that the ball will come to me because I want to help my team and show them that they can count on me! It is such a great feeling when I am able to help my team even when it seems impossible.
Prep Dig TX: What are you looking forward to most this season?
Gaby: The thing I am most looking forward to this season is honoring Mr. Dan. Dan Zora was the biggest supporter of Klein Volleyball. For many years he kept stats, cheered us on and he never missed a game. Unfortunately, he recently passed away and I know things will not be the same without him. Before every game he wished us good luck, he was always supportive, and I wish I would have known him a lot longer than just last year. He will be greatly missed and I’m looking forward to honoring him in our season this year.
Prep Dig TX: What do you think your biggest obstacle this year compared to last year’s school season? How do you plan to overcome it?
Gaby: I believe our biggest challenge this year is going to be being prepared for playoffs with all of the changes covid has brought. Luckily, we are able to play summer league together and I feel that will help us to gel before season.
Prep Dig TX: What are three individual goals that you have for this high school season?
Gaby: I recently had a call with a very seasoned smart college coach. She told me how they stat liberos by percentage of digs that lead to swings. I believe this is a great way to truly know how effective our digs are and a good base to improve off of throughout the season. My goal this season is to get 82% or higher every game.
Secondly, I am setting a goal of being the ace leader on my team. Last year I was a very consistent server. This year I am working on being consistent AND aggressive.
Lastly, I was blessed to be able to get more digs than anyone has ever gotten in the 41 years Klein has been open. Unfortunately, due to the shortened schedule we will have this year, the chances of me being able to break that are probably not realistic. My new goal is to get more digs per set than I did last year which was 6.0.
Prep Dig TX: Finish this Sentence…this high school volleyball season I’m going to _____
Gaby: This school volleyball season I am going to appreciate and be grateful for every practice, game and moment we have. I am going to work as hard as I can to help my team win the state championship and honor Mr. Dan while doing so.
Prep Dig TX: What did Covid-19 do to you mentally during this long shutdown? How have you coped with it?
Gaby: Covid has definitely made me realize even more so how much I love the sport, coaches and my teammates and be grateful every time we get to step on the court. I do believe I got stronger mentally through covid. I read the book The Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremow, which I highly recommend, and learned so much about ways to stay mentally connected to the game even when not playing. When we were able to start playing again, I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I also didn’t feel like I had lost a lot of my skill and I think part of that was due to this book.
This young lady truly cares about being a better person and a player. I decided to write a few articles on players such as her so that our readers can get a true understanding of what these athletes go through and how volleyball is a passion for them like it is for many of us. These players deserve all of the recognition that they can get. I will be rolling these out throughout the month along with our regular highlight articles that contain multiple athletes.
We will be publishing more articles daily to give the recognition to each athlete that has earned the right to be called a top 100 Texas Volleyball Player. Stay tuned for more articles on your favorite athletes. If you have anyone you think we should watch out for or that you think have what it takes to be added to our database, please shoot me an email with some info at firstname.lastname@example.org