Las Vegas girls volleyball coach Sue Thurman hesitated to call her tournament the largest in the state.
But from a sheer numbers standpoint, the 18th annual Las Vegas Invitational is just that. Forty schools — some from California, Utah and Wyoming — will compete at this year’s tournament, which begins at 3 p.m. Friday
Although the 32-team Durango Fall Classic is considered to have a higher-profile national field, it remains slightly smaller than the Las Vegas Invitational.
“Every year it gets better and better,” said Thurman, who serves as tournament director.
In fact the field is so big that four sites will be used this year: Las Vegas High, Green Valley High, Foothill High and Harney Middle School.
The tournament has featured up to 32 teams in the past, but eight schools were added in August, Thurman said. Of the 40 schools, 30 are affiliated with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
“There are so many local teams we could probably run our own tournament with them,” Thurman said.
Among the local squads will be No. 1 seeds Palo Verde (Pool D), Bishop Gorman (Pool E), Silverado (Pool F), Durango (Pool H) and Centennial (Pool I).
Defending tournament champion Skyline of Salt Lake City is the No. 1 overall seed, and will open Pool A play at Las Vegas.
The top 20 teams from Friday’s pool play will advance to Saturday’s Championship Division. Third- and fourth-place teams from the 10 pools will be placed in the Consolation Division. Both divisions begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, with title matches tentatively set for 1 p.m. Saturday.
The eight-team Lady Trojan Invitational hosted by Pahrump Valley also begins Friday.
Local schools include Beatty, Calvary Chapel, Lake Mead, Pahranagat Valley, Henderson International, Round Mountain and Laughlin.
Action begins at 2 p.m. Friday, with the top two teams from both pools advancing to the Gold Division and the bottom two to the Maroon Division.
Bracket play begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, with title matches slated to start at 2:15 p.m.