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North volleyball starts season unbeaten
September 6, 2017

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The North Fort Myers High School volleyball team has worked its way back to near the top of the pack among teams in the area.

But if they're going to contend with the best teams in the very tough District 7A-10, the Red Knights will have to couple skills with the fighting spirit they showed in a non-conference game against First Baptist Academy last week.

In every game, the Red Knights trailed, but rallied back. That's a tough way to live, but North overcame and won 3-1 (26-24, 25-14, 23-25, 25-20) against a short-benched but talented Lions squad, handing them their first loss of the season and extending their own record to a perfect 5-0.

"We've been working on maintaining our composure under pressure and making sure our veteran players are leading in those situations and they did a good job of that tonight," said North coach Nancy Eskay.

Senior libero Erin Post had 30 digs and five aces to lead the Red Knights. Katie Dickey had 12 kills and Delaney Zohler added 11 kills.

North fell behind in the first set 15-10 when the Lions went on a 10-2 run. Kaitlyn Cantrell served the Knights to within one, and Madi Barron helped them take the lead and pull it out.

FBA again got off to a quick start in the second set, but the Knights quickly turned things around as Cantrell and Dickey served up a 13-1 run to blow the game open. The Lions had problems returning serve in the second game to control the match.

FBA still had something left in the tank, though. They jumped to a nine-point lead and held on for a 25-23 win to force a fourth game, which they led by six midway through.

Again, it was Cantrell to the rescue, helping North chip away, and Kyleigh Jackson who served up a 7-0 run to put the match in the Knights' pocket.

"I think early on we had a lot of service/receive errors and it broke down severely in the third game," Eskay said. "It was a snowball affect from there. But we were able to get ourselves out of that."

Kaleigh Edwards, junior captain, said the team needs to talk, keep its energy level up and move the ball around if they plan to contend in a district with Charlotte and vastly improved Port Charlotte.

"Whenever we're down we need to get our energy back up and get the ball down," Edwards said. "Our main goal is to beat Charlotte. We almost did it last year and we plan to do it this year."

Post believes this will be the best season the Red Knights have had in years, with their experience and the fact they've played together in travel ball for years.

"We're really going to have to bring it hard this year. We may have some young players, but the juniors and seniors bring them up as much as we can," Post said. "We're role models, so we try to make sure we're doing what we're supposed to in practice."

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