Bartlett Yancey volleyball's season came to an end last Tuesday in the state semifinals, one win shy of a shot at the state title.

The Bucs (24-2) bowed 3-0 at then undefeated Camden County, the East's top seed. That closed out the best volleyball season in BY history and ended its 23-game win streak. BY, a six seed, was the lowest seed still in the hunt, having already knocked off third seeded South Lenoir and second seeded Ayden-Grifton.

“Out of 64 teams (in the NCHSAA 2A Volleyball State Championships) we were down to the last four, and we were part of that,” observed coach Angela Ouzts. “No matter win or lose, I was proud of their effort and what they accomplished.”

She called it a Cinderella story. Her girls, she said, had exceeded expectations. Camden County's Bruins (27-1) lost 3-1 in the state title game Saturday against Southwestern Randolph (28-5).

The Bucs, playing on their opponents home court, lost the opening set 25-9.

“We came out definitely scared,” Ouzts said. “But we gained our composure in the second game.”

They lost that one narrowly – 25-22 – then dropped the third 25-13.

The Bucs were not alone in 3-0 losses to the Bruins. To that point Camden County had lost only one set all season. They won each of their first 27 games 3-0 except one. They downed Perquinmans 3-1.

“They were definitely a strong team,” Ouzts said of the Bruins. “All you can do is go in and play your best and hope for a positive outcome. Being there was a positive outcome.”

A chartered bus of fans made the trip, she said, to cheer on the Bucs.

“It was awesome,” Ouzts said.

Said retired Hall of Fame basketball coach Lindsey Page, among BY fans making the trip: “When you get to the Final Four there are no losers. They just played a better team.”

The Bucs lose five key players: Alayna Crumpton, Faith Johnson, Kaitlyn Oakley, Lizzie Proctor and Faith Upchurch. But Ouzts, who said she's engaged in building a program, not an occasional team, said there is plenty of talent in the pipeline – some of whom play travel ball year round. That, she said, should give the Bucs an edge.

Among those she's counting on to continue the success: sophomores Jazmyne Henderson, Marshay Hodge, Bethany Solomon and Kayden Miller, and juniors Paige Lee and Kirsten Walker.

“Those are the ones who are going to have to step in and fill those roles,” Ouzts said.