If one was limited to a single word to describe Carly Dyess the volleyball player, that word would be passionate.
Passionate the word was spoken frequently and by many early Friday afternoon in describing Dyess, where the senior had gathered along with family, friends, classmates, coaches, teachers and a handful of members of the working media inside the Troup High School library to witness Dyess sign a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and volleyball career at Panola College in Carthage.
The Fillies, who are coached by Amber McCray and are members of NJCAA Region XIV, finished 22-10 this past season and were nationally ranked for most of the season. All of Panola's losses were to Top 20-ranked schools.
From the first time that Dyess ever saw varsity action — back in the fall of 2010 — until she wrapped up her illustrious Lady Tiger career late last fall, she brought an unbridled passion and spunkyness to the court that was evident to everyone.
“We called her (Dyess) up for our first playoff match her freshman year,” Troup head volleyball coach Arden Johnson recalled. “And because of an injury we had to play her right then and there and she was passionate and driven from that first moment on.”
Johnson, who was a college volleyball standout at East Texas Baptist University, knows first hand what it takes for a college volleyball player to succeed and she said Dyess has all of the premier qualities that are a requisite.
“Not only does Carly have the skills, but she has so much passion for the game and has a fine work ethic and those are three things a player has to have in order to make it at the collegiate level.”
Dyess and McCray, who was an All-American as a player at Florida, became familiar with one another last year when Dyess played club volleyball for a McCray-coached team.
“I really love volleyball and to be able to be able to go play for coach McCray is like a dream come true for me,” Dyess said. “I know (Panola) plays a real competitive level of volleyball and I know that the coaches will be pushing us hard. I learned in playing club ball for coach McCray that she can push me to be my best, and make me work harder than I make myself.”
Dyess first started playing volleyball in the seventh grade and a year later she made her club team debut.
She said that she had always dreamed about one day being able to play college volleyball.
“(Signing day) really means a lot to me because of all the years of work and the hours of practice that I have put into volleyball,” Dyess said.
Dyess primarily played setter for the Lady Tigers, but was recruited as a defensive specialist, according to McCray, who along with Panola assistant coach, Jane Hays, were also on hand for Friday's signing.
Dyess said that she didn't anticipate any problems on the position switch.
“I played setter in high school mostly because that's what the team needed,” Dyess said. “But I love playing defensive specialist and to be able to play that position at Panola will be a lot of fun.”
Dyess, who is the daughter of Bobby and Kayla Dyess, tallied 826 assists (6.8 assists per match) and 226 digs (5.7 digs per match) last season for Troup, a year in which the Lady Tigers posted a 27-14 record which included going 14-0 in conference play.
Johnson said that the Troup volleyball program will definitely miss Dyess.
“She (Dyess) was such a hard worker and a leader for us out on the floor, and we will miss her, but we are so proud of her,” Johnson said.