A decent second half of the season ended Wednesday night for the Estero High School volleyball team.
The Wildcats, who recovered from an 0-8 start to the season and wound up as District 6A-11 runner-up, were eliminated by Barron Collier in three sets, 25-11, 25-13, 25-9, in the region quarterfinals Wednesday at Barron Collier High in Naples.
“We came here and played consistently and we were relaxed,” said Barron Collier coach Robert Ritchie. “Right now, we feel like we’re peaking and at the top of our game. It’s exciting for all of us right now.”
The 6A-12 Cougars will now play either Naples or Fort Myers in the region semifinal on Saturday afternoon.
In a difficult loss, Dana Kahle had six assists, two aces and eight digs. Middle hitter Brook Grimes had five kills and outside hitter Lily Ciaramitaro had four kills.
The key to the game, according to Estero coach Barry Harris, was the right side of the Cougars’ court.
“About 40 percent of their hits came from the right side,” Harris said. “They hit it well all game long. They kept us way out on the perimeter, and when you do that, it’s hard to pass the ball. With just one misstep, you lose the point.”
Once major key for Barron Collier was handling the Wildcats’ offense.
“We usually play a ‘read defense’ and it worked well,” Ritchey said. “Rather than come in with a set plan, we tried to focus on what their hitters did, and then respond to it. So we just focused on what their hitters did and tried to defend it.”
The Cougars (14-13) came in fresh off their sixth straight district title. BC is now two wins away from their first region title in 35 years.
Harris took a few moments to praise seniors Kahle, Maddy Kane and Marley Garner. “They were what really held the team together,” Harris said.