NEW SMYRNA BEACH — At no point Saturday afternoon did New Smyrna Beach volleyball coach Brittany Owen think her team was going to lose. Maintaining a steady, calm demeanor in the face of a frenetic, back-and-forth marathon, Owen internally started to feel giddy in the decisive fifth set.

"I was like, 'We're going to states. I need to pack my bags,' " Owen said. "Never, ever did I think we were going to lose that game."

That was, until the very last point.

Tamrin Woosnam's final block pushed Ocala Vanguard past the host Barracudas, 21-19, in an epic Class 7A semifinal which lasted more than two hours. Junior Alexa Schmidt recorded 29 kills and 20 digs for the Knights (26-4), who will face Stuart South Fork for the championship at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17.

NSB (29-4) falls at the second-to-last hurdle for the third consecutive year. In its previous two Final Four appearances, the Barracudas won only one set combined.

Senior Taila Gaines said Saturday's loss was the most painful of all.

"We were more of a family than a team," said Gaines, who will sign with Jackson State next week. "I feel like my heart broke. This is what we were working toward."

The teams alternated wins through the first four sets. NSB jumped out to 4-0 lead in the fifth, propelled by a kill and a block by Gaines. The Barracudas ran their lead to as large as five points (11-6).

Rena Ashley brought the Knights back even, at 13 apiece, when her serve clipped the net and fell softly over for an ace.

The Barracudas regrouped, only to have four separate match points go by the boards. With their final two chances to serve it out, Kylie Smith and Gaines both misfired for errors.

Vanguard capitalized on its third chance for victory, booking its fifth trip to the state final since 2012.

"I felt so much excitement that I was able to pull it out for my team," Woosnam said. "We're going to states. Oh my God, this is for real."

Emphasizing "team over talent" the entire season, NSB shared the wealth offensively. Five players finished with double-digit kill totals — Malinda Messner (14), Gaines (12), Kate McLaughlin (11), Smith and Brooke Taylor (10 apiece). Alyssa Guarino turned in a whale of a defensive effort, leading all players with 46 digs.

Unlike her players, Owen did not feel an immediate sense of devastation when all was said and done. Instead, she expressed an immense amount of pride.

"We're getting closer and closer to that last step," Owen said. "Of course I wanted to win, but I'm nothing but proud of the way the girls fought, the decisions they made and the athletes they are.

"This being my first year, I'm just so excited for everything they accomplished. This was our first loss at home all season. … I don't think it's hit me. Tonight when I'm thinking about them, it will."