Skagway’s volleyball team is set to hit its first competition of the season, and will go to the Haines Jamboree with a team over double the size of the previous year.

Around 13-14 girls will be participating on the volleyball team; six on the team are returning players, and another five are total newcomers to the sport.

Working with the mix of veteran and rookie players has been a great experience so far, new volleyball coach Kate Bauer said.

“It’s actually been really fun because they [the newcomers] are already getting so much better and it’s only week three,” Bauer said.

After starting out with a refresher on the basics, the team has moved into focusing on deeper nuances of the game like improving serving technique.

Practicing team cohesion and fluidity and building trust between the players is next on the checklist before the Haines Jamboree.

“Making sure they’re talking to each other, calling their balls and just being able to work together on the floor is so important, and really trusting your teammates when they do call the ball that they’re actually going to get to it,” Bauer said.

The players aren’t “afraid of the ball,” Bauer added, saying none of the girls hesitate to dive to the court floor after a runaway volleyball.

At the Haines Jamboree, Bauer said the teams can pick how many games they can play in.

With the amount of players at her disposal, Bauer said she hopes to “play quite a few” to get some good practice in for the relatively short volleyball season.

Following the Jamboree, there are two more tournaments in the season. The first is in Craig on Oct. 19-21, and the second is the following month from Nov. 2-4. Regionals are in Metlakatla from Nov. 16-17.

Bauer, who has co-coached other school activities like Track & Field, has traveled with most of her players before, but said she’s looking forward getting to know the rest this season.

“I just feel that traveling as a team, there’s so much bonding that happens when you leave here, that’s super important too,” Bauer said.