Volleyball Spotlight Feature-Carly Frazier
"Like a tree that's planted by the water, I shall not be moved. Though the winds are blowing all around me, I shall not be moved."
---chorus Like a Tree, a traditional hymn
Carly Frazier describes herself as consistent. The senior from Stillwater, Okla., also admits to being "goofy," in addition to possessing an undeterrable optimism and unwavering faith. While the conditions and situations around her may change, those things never do. Frazier practices what she preaches, radiating joy with a constant smile and continually looking on the bright side, even when describing her role on this year's Belmont volleyball team. Her role this season is much changed from what it was a year ago.
Last season, Frazier started some matches and was among the team leaders in kills and attacks (fourth in kills, third in attacks). This season, she comes off the bench. Although her playing time has changed, her team-first attitude hasn't. Selected as a team captain, Frazier understands and embraces her new role.
"Coming into Belmont as a freshman, I was an outside hitter, and I had been since I can remember," Frazier said. "I understand that there have been people who have been stronger than me (at that position). I have never been very 'vertically-gifted,' as I like to say---I don't jump very high. I think, going through the years, understanding my role has become very vital for me. I understand that as a captain this year, I hold a leadership role, first and foremost. Also, I serve, and I think that's one of my strengths. I'm trying my best to bring whatever my strengths are to the court, whether that be leadership and serving or something else. I've grasped that (role) and run with it."
Frazier comes from a rich volleyball background. Her older sister was the first all-state selection in the history of Stillwater High School, and it was her sister's influence, along with that of the high school and club coach Ryan Webber, which started Frazier on a path to Belmont volleyball.
"My older sister, Summer, was the first all-stater at my high school in volleyball," she said. "Growing up, I went to all of her tournaments and she would pepper with me, try to teach me about volleyball. She was really hard on me, but now, looking back, I think it was for the best. Also, her high school coach was going to be my high school coach as well, and he and I had a really great relationship. He was such a huge factor in my volleyball career as both my high school coach and my club coach. I would say he and my sister, without them, they continued to push me and also made volleyball fun for me. I think that's the hardest balance to find---competiveness and fun. I know that can be ruined if you play a sport a lot, but that didn't happen to me."
Belmont and Frazier seemed to fit together perfectly. It took only one visit and a meeting with associate athletic director and senior women's administrator Betty Wiseman for Frazier to know that Belmont was where she belonged.
"I only went on one actual visit to a college, and Belmont was my first and last visit," she said. "As soon as I got here, I felt welcome, not only by the coaching staff and the faculty here, but also by the team. I think that's what was most important. Yes, it's in a great town in Nashville, and it has great academics; I knew I could grow spiritually here, but I think what made me feel really at home were the girls and the coach. They embraced me, and they didn't even know me for more than one day. As soon I came, I knew I belonged here. It was right after meeting with BW (Betty Wiseman). I know a lot of girls say that when they come here. You can just tell after talking with her for five minutes that she's an amazing person. I don't regret my choice to come here one bit."
That feeling of family has not diminished over the course of her career at Belmont and is one thing Frazier will take away once her senior year comes to a close.
"I've established a great group of friends, all the way from the people who were seniors when I was a freshman to the girls in my grade," Frazier said. "I couldn't be more thankful and consider myself so blessed that I could come to a team where I could be friends with all of the girls. Also, just being able to be in a place where I can grow spiritually. I've been able to go on mission trips with BW, and I don't think, if I had gone anywhere else, that those opportunities would have been available to me. Overall, the experience of leaving home and maturing and growing into a young woman, that's what it's all about. Hopefully, ten years from now, I can look back and say that I fulfilled my role here and accomplished what I was supposed to accomplish. I think I'm on the right road so far."
Finding a place to grow spiritually was important to Frazier. It is not a stretch to say that her faith is a cornerstone of her personality. When asked to define herself, that faith was the first thing that came to mind.
"I'm strong in my faith. I think I'm reliable. I enjoy the life I live and the people around me."
Coming to Belmont may have been the right choice for Frazier, but she admits that being so far from home hasn't been easy.
"I guess you really don't know what you miss until it's gone. That's one thing that happened to me my freshman year. Learning how to understand that, 'hey, I'm here, and I'm ready to experience this next part of my life,' but also being homesick. I think that happens to everyone. It's still a battle now. There are still days when I miss Stillwater and home and family, but I realize what an awesome opportunity it is being here."
While winning the conference tournament has been Frazier's best Belmont volleyball moment, another highlight of her time on campus was a mission trip to South Africa in 2009.
"It was the summer of 2009, and it was me and Jenny Gray, and we got to go with a couple of players from the men's and women's basketball team. We went to a couple of villages and ran clinics that were mostly centered around basketball, but we did get to do a little bit of volleyball, too. We would play with the kids and then afterwards, we would share testimony. It would be one or two of the players who would share their testimony. We also worked with the Living Hope organization. It was an experience that I will never ever forget and I can take so many lessons and memories from that trip. It's something I don't think I would ever have gotten to do if I hadn't come to Belmont."
Faith is part of the impression Frazier hopes to make on those she encounters. It will also play a role in the way she reflects on her time at Belmont.
"I would say that I'm a girl who tries to live out her faith, the best I can. That's what I want people to remember about me."