By their own admission, Bartlett Yancey volleyball senior hitter and co-captain Lanie Ouzts and fellow senior co-captain and defensive specialist Mattie Wrenn are as different as night and day.
Ouzts is more of the get in your face kind of leader, always challenging her teammates to be their best while Wrenn is the more laidback, be your friend first kind of leader.
Of course, just like their personalities, the two have different reasonings behind who they are.
“Lanie and I are complete opposites,” Wrenn said. “She’s more of a tell them what to do and help them fix it kind of leader and I’m more of a trying to make everybody feel better about themselves because for me personally, it’s a confidence thing. If I’m in my head, I play way worse than when I just go out there and play. So, that’s why I’m more of the friend.”
Ouzts, on the other hand, doesn’t learn that way. Instead, she learns from people getting in her face and letting her know the business.
“Coming from my experience, I learn better when people are in my face, telling me what to do and how to do it so that’s why I am the way I am,” Ouzts said. “I just like trying to do the same for others.”
No matter the reasoning for their different personalities, Ouzts and Wrenn share one thing in common: Both of them know their way around a volleyball court and its showed in their combined six years on the squad.
In her four years, Ouzts recorded 562 kills, 117 service aces, 48 blocks and 282 digs. In just two seasons, Wrenn knocked down 17 kills, recorded 54 service aces and drilled home 150 digs, helping her live up to her title of defensive specialist.
While Wrenn’s eyes don’t necessarily pop out of her head when she hears her career stats, she does acknowledge the improvement she’s made over her two years on the squad.
“It’s definitely a lot of dedication and hard work,” Wrenn said. “Looking at the numbers, I may not have done that great but I’m glad I was able to keep improving over the years.”
However, there is one thing that sticks out to Ouzts and Wrenn. Something more important than their numbers.
Any team is like a family and like any family, members get tired of each other after being around one another constantly. With Ouzts, Wrenn and the rest of the Buccaneers constantly in practice or on the bus together, things have felt a little claustrophobic and it’s led to some tension in years past.
However, that wasn’t the case this year and both Ouzts and Wrenn were quick to express their pride in that fact.
“I think it’s really a tolerance thing,” Wrenn said. “We got a long really well this year and there was very little to no drama. I’m really glad we got along a lot better this year considering it was our last together.”
When asked to recall their favorites memories from their high school careers, both were quick to answer.
“Definitely the memories I made with my best friend [BY right side hitter Breyana Lunsford], Wrenn said. “All of those are great memories and I’m really going to miss playing with her.”
However, Wrenn does have one caveat that makes her feel a bit better.
“We still have travel season coming up so I’ll be able to keep playing with her for a little while longer so at least that’s not completely over yet,” Wrenn said.
Ouzts chimed in, saying, “It’s been really fun over the past four years. The bond I got to build with everyone was great and I’m glad I had one more chance to play with everyone that I grew up playing ball with.”
After graduating in May, Wrenn hopes to attend Liberty University where she plans on double majoring in early childhood education and creative writing. If unable to get into Liberty, she hopes to attend a Division-III school and play volleyball.
Ouzts is considering her dream school as well, Appalachian State, while she is also being courted by Averett University to continue her volleyball career. No matter where she ends up, Ouzts plans onn majoring in business and becoming a flight attendant.
There’s nothing easy about being a high school student-athlete. There’s the juggling of practice and school work, which is often done on bus trips to away games. On top of that, a little personal time must be had as well, complicating the equation.
However, Ouzts and Wrenn have gotten used to it though and have learned valuable lessons they want to pass on to their former teammates.
“I know I should have done my first a lot of the times instead of putting my sport first,” Ouzts said. “So, I would encourage others to do the same.”