Some of Las Vegas’ top volleyball teams might gain just as much from watching matches this weekend as they will playing in them.
Twelve of the nation’s top 100 high school teams will be in town to compete in the 32-team Durango Fall Classic Tournament, which begins Friday at Durango and Green Valley.
Durango, Coronado, Foothill, Palo Verde, Bishop Gorman, Green Valley and defending Class 4A state champion Silverado will get their chance to see how they measure up against a sampling of the nation’s elite and watch those teams in action.
“It’s a great help to us,” Palo Verde coach Greg Siqueiros said. “It opens our eyes to seeing what the best teams across the nation can do. It’s a great advantage for any team to be in this tournament.”
La Costa Canyon (Calif.) and Archbishop Mitty (Calif.), ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the PrepVolleyball.com Century Club National 100, highlight the field. Sixth-ranked Lakewood (Calif.) and eighth-ranked Mira Costa (Calif.) are also scheduled to compete. Durango will face La Costa Canyon on Friday at 8 p.m.
“This is a monster tournament,” said Gorman coach Ed Van Meetren, whose team will play 11th-ranked Wilson (Calif.) on Friday at 8 p.m.. “It’s a big measuring stick to see where we are at and where we can get to.”
The field is divided into eight four-team pools, with each team playing three pool matches on Friday. The first matches begin at 3 p.m.
The field also includes teams from Hawaii, Idaho, Washington and Kentucky.
When teams aren’t in action, they’ll have a chance to watch and learn from the other squads.
“Definitely our No. 1 focus is to watch other teams and see how they play,” said Siqueiros, whose Panthers will meet 74th-ranked Homestead (Calif.) at 4 p.m. Friday and 13th-ranked Assumption (Ky.) that night at 8.
After Friday’s pool play, teams will be slotted into qualifying rounds for Saturday’s play, which begins at 8:30 a.m.
The championship match is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. at Durango. The winner of each of the last three Classics has finished the season ranked No. 1 nationally.
“We have to use this tournament as preparation for the end of the year,” Van Meetren said. “We have to use this to find the right mix of players to have success against great competition.”