It ended a little sooner than they would have hoped, but there is no shame in the body of work constructed by the Sylvan Hills Lady Bears volleyball team.

The Lady Bears lost to the Paragould Lady Rams last week in the second round of the state tournament. The Lady Rams went on to win the 5A championship in three sets over Batesville.

Head coach Harold Treadway came away from that loss with some immense respect for the eventual champs, but also knows that the gap between his team and the 5A state champions isn’t as wide as one might think.

"They are a good team," Treadway said. "In watching them and watching us, ability-wise, and knowledge-wise, I think we are pretty good. Talent-wise we are pretty close. Quickness? We are not there yet. They hit the ball sometimes and we still hadn’t moved to it."

Regardless of how his team finished, the season was a success.

Treadway saw his team suffer through some bouts of injury and inconsistency, but was overall pleased with his team’s season.

Late season setbacks to some key players put the dynamic into jeopardy, but fortunately, the injuries weren’t serious enough to derail the team.

Treadway said his message for the offseason will likely be developing consistency.

In several instances, Treadway watched his team get off to slow starts. They played well enough to finish with 10 conference wins against four losses. All four coming to the two teams that finished ahead of them in the 5A-Central standings in Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian.

"In the offseason, we’ll work on getting better," Treadway said. "We’ll work around the other sports, and hopefully have a good enough offseason and come back better."

He loses just three seniors and has some good talent coming in from his freshman team next season.

The loss that ended their season may have hurt, but it didn’t diminish what the Lady Bears achieved, and it certainly will allow them to build toward an even better campaign in 2014.