When the Fort Myers volleyball team lost to Gulf Coast in a district final last year then-underclassmen like Alayna Ryan and Kaitlin Stewart felt as if they let their senior teammates down.
On Thursday, the Green Wave made sure history didn’t repeat itself, dispatching Estero in straight sets (25-4, 25-12, 25-10) in the District 6A-11 final.
Ryan, a junior, finished with 12 kills, three blocks and six digs while junior Erin Gear had 10 aces and 27 assists for Fort Myers, which hosts Naples in a regional quarterfinal Wednesday.
“To come back and say that we’re already doing better than we were last year when we had a stronger team last year is very special to us,” Ryan said.
The Green Wave established its dominance early, jumping out to a 10-1 lead behind three kills apiece from Ryan and junior outside hitter Lena Knox. A 14-1 flurry ended the first set.
Estero, which faces District 6A-12 champion Barron Collier Wednesday, closed the gap to 13-8 in the second set but got not closer.
Stewart was too much for the Wildcats around the net, notching 10 kills and two blocks.
“The key to the victory was team work, playing together and consistency,” Ryan said. “You just have to keep the ball in play and terminate when you can.”
Fort Myers was swept by Lakewood Ranch in a regional final last season.
Green Wave coach Stephanie Martin, whose won 19 district titles in 21 years, said playing in tournaments at Tampa Berkeley Prep and Venice have prepared her squad for the postseason.
“We played a really tough schedule this year,” Martin said. “We went to two awesome tournaments. We’ve played at a really high level so, hopefully, it will help when we go into playoffs.”