PUNTA GORDA – North Fort Myers senior Madison Prusak stared through the net in disbelief at the celebration occurring just five feet away. The Red Knights had done all they could, but were simply overwhelmed by a Charlotte team that fired on all cylinders during the District 6A-10 championship on Tuesday night.
Though the 26-24, 25-13, 25-14 sweep it suffered stung, it did not mark the end of North Fort Myers’ season. The Red Knights (15-5) still advance to regional quarterfinal play, and will on Wednesday travel to the winner of the District 6A-9 championship between Osceola and Clearwater.
Prusak said her team is already working past the Charlotte (24-2) disappointment and ready to focus on its next opponent.
“The season is not over, we need to start working hard again,” said the senior captain, who finished with a team-best 15 kills. “We have come a long way since the beginning of the season and we’re not ready for this to end.”
Prusak was lethal early, collecting eight kills during a first set North Fort Myers controlled until 24-21. But the Tarpons battled back behind three Mykelli Taylor kills and, after a furious rally put the Red Knights behind them.
The visitors were visibly deflated in the second set, falling behind 16-12 before Charlotte went on a 9-1 run to leave North Fort Myers with one final chance at the championship.
Just as before, the Red Knights put their best talent on the court, but they couldn’t overcome a senior-laden Charlotte team in pursuit of its first district championship in 13 seasons. The Tarpons broke an 8-all tie and never trailed again.
“We came out fired up, and we made them work,” North Fort Myers Nancy Eskay said. “They played extremely hard and put everything they had out on the court throughout the entire match.
“I’m very proud of them. I think they played really well and even though it’s a loss, they played excellent, so we definitely want to take that into the next opponent.”