With the schedule back to a resemblance of normal, the Quincy High School volleyball team gets another crack at the always competitive Caribou Trail League.

The five-team league includes longtime powerhouse Cascade and perennial state contender Chelan, so with a squad loaded with sophomores and other underclassmen, the Quincy Jacks figure this is a year for taking one’s lumps and learning how to stay competitive in matches against some decorated foes.

Quincy’s season starts in Royal City with a nonleague match against the Knights, but the real work began in earnest several days ago, with the start of practice. A young squad coupled with the lack of middle school matches in 2020 due to the pandemic turn the practice sessions into an introduction of sorts for players into the system of longtime coach Dean Pratt.

The goal, as always ist keep improving to the point that once league matches end, the team is playing its best ball of the season. A CTL title may be an unrealistic finish line for the Lady Jacks’ netters, but there isn’t anywhere where it’s written that they can’t compete for second place in the Caribou Trail League.

Four out of the five teams in the Caribou Trail League make it to districts, with the top team playing the No. 4 seed and the second team playing the third seed in a one-day, one-game playoff. Another goal is to earn that second seed and battle for a district championship.

With standout Reese Nieuwhenhuis having moved to Montana, the team will rely on other names to make a splash in the Caribou Trail League. Also, the team has other challenges to tend to. To wit, a matchup with Ephrata, now in a different league, still looms large for the Jacks.

“It’s still intense,” Pratt said.

Conference play opens in the toughest spot possible, on the road, against the Goats in Chelan. The team will have a total of five games prior to the conference opener to work out the kinks

Home opener is against Toppenish on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

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