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North volleyball shows some team strength
September 25, 2019

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The North Fort Myers High School volleyball program has always had a very good program. It is just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If it hasn't shared a district with Charlotte and Port Charlotte, it has shared one with Fort Myers and Riverdale, all traditional powers, making it very hard to break into the top two and regionals.

With those latter two teams in North's very competitive District 6A-8, Nancy Eskay's team once again has its work cut out for it.

But North could have a real window of opportunity to win its first district title since 2011, with a team that has a great mix of experience and youth.

And over the last few weeks, it has really put things together.

Cypress Lake saw that in a match last week, as North dominated, never trailing at any point in its easy straight-set victory (25-9, 25-10, 25-7) that give it their eighth victory in their last nine matches to improve to 11-4 on the season.

The Red Knights are going to go as far as senior outside hitter Katie Dickey takes them. Dickey had 13 kills in the brief match, while the team's other senior, libero Madi Barron, added 11 digs. Junior setter Marsha McDade had 24 assists.

Eskay said playing such an easy opponent allowed them to work on some things. Namely, trying to find more variety on offense.

"We've had some misconnection with our hitters in the middle and center and we have trouble getting our hitters involved because Katie is so dominant," Eskay said. "When 75 or 80 percent of the balls go to your best hitter, it becomes problematic when you play more capable teams. We need the other players to get involved."

Those players include junior hitter Kady Jackson, middle back Reece Morgan and sophomore setter Mia Miranda, who establish a solid foundation for next season.

Dickey said she liked what she saw as they got other players involved.

"We mixed it up a little bit and tried different things we don't usually do. That will help in more competitive games," Dickey said. "We're a very young team and we're really getting it together now. Coash is getting us ready and we know we have to go out there and kick butt."

Barron said playing a weaker team allowed them to work on parts of their game that need work.

"We wanted to focus on getting others involved. Katie has been great but we need the other hitters to start producing," Barron said. "The younger girls aren't going to have us next year, so we need to get them ready in case Katie gets hurt or has an off night."

Whether it's enough to get them over that hump remains to be seen. Eskay said she realizes how the past few seasons have been.

"The best thing we can do is chip away and find ways to utilize players to the best of their ability and find the weaknesses where we can find them," Eskay said.

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