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North volleyball racking up the wins

September 26, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

After many years of struggles, the North Fort Myers High School volleyball team has an opportunity to do some wonderful things.

That is, if it can get out of its own district.

Nancy Eskay's team has rolled off to a 10-2 start, putting it on pace for its best record since 2011 when it reached the regional finals.

Article Photos

Coast senior Michaela Reams and North Fort Myers senior Delanie Zohler battle at the net during their match Tuesday night.


"Overall, we're a mentally tough team. We have great senior leadership this year and a lot of girls with experience so they know with the game comes ups and downs," Eskay said. "There's never a point where they'll just give up."

In her six years, Eskay has kept her team competitive with some runs into regionals. But this particular season provides a unique window of opportunity with five seniors who have all been through the ups and downs.

"We're come together as a group and become really great friends. That helps us move fluently on the court. We can anticipate where the ball is going to go," said senior captain Kaleigh Edwards. "The new players are learning how quick the high school game is. We relate to them and pull them along as well as we can."

"I've learned so much. My first three years I was on the right side and never played back row," said senior setter Sydney Meyers. "This year, I've played all the way around the court and that's a change."

Last week, North defeated Lehigh handily and Canterbury in a five-set thriller. However, in between they were taken to class by Charlotte, an area power, in a crucial district matchup, and defeated in straight sets.

Charlotte brought its "A" game in all phases, killing the Red Knights with their serve while giving them a major challenge trying to avoid the block.

"They played scrappy defense, ran the offense well and were aggressive on serve and received serve well, which allowed them to run their offense," Eskay said. "They ran on all cylinders."

Eskay said she is looking for their weaknesses against some of the tougher teams and look for ways to match up better against them.

However, District 7A-10 is loaded with top teams such as Charlotte and Port Charlotte. Lemon Bay and Ida Baker aren't automatic outs, either. Since only two teams can go to regionals, that's going to leave somebody very unhappy.

"It's always been our goal to beat Charlotte. So far, we haven't met that goal. But we know we can compete with them. We're orienting ourselves to how they play," Edwards said.

"From playing Charlotte, we know how they play, so we know how to attack them," Meyers said. "We were nervous going in because they're so much bigger. But we now see what their weaknesses are."

But the girls are going to take their shots, knowing that while it's wide open, they have a chance to do special things.

"The credit should go to the girls. A lot of my seniors have been on the team for four years. They've worked, played and gained experience," Eskay said. "I think it's coming together this season."



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