One big tourney

It’s finally time for Northgate to defend its own turf. The Northgate/Acalanes/Las Lomas/Ygnacio Valley girls volleyball tournament kicks off Saturday at 8:30 a.m., and the competition is so fierce, things could get ugly. I hear they’re bringing in extra security, "just in case."

OK, girls vball is a pretty tame sport. A yell/growl into the net after a block or kill is about as confrontational as it gets.

But the field of 31 teams is stacked and includes last year’s North Coast Section champions in all five divisions (Liberty, Carondelet, Campolindo, Justin Siena-Napa), one state-champ (Division V Marin Academy-San Rafael) and 19 teams that made it to the NCS playoffs.

If the Broncos want to make it 3-for-3 with another tournament win (the trophies for the Wolverine Invitational and Castro Valley Invitational are sitting pretty somewhere in Bronco country), they’ll have their work cut out for them.

Here is the rest of the field: Acalanes, Albany, Alhambra, Amador Valley, Antioch, Berean Christian, California, Castro Valley, Chico, Clayton Valley, College Park, College Prep, Concord, Deer Valley, El Molino-Forrestville, Enterprise, James Logan, Kelsyville, Las Lomas, Maria Carrillo-Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Redwood-Larkspur, San Ramon Valley, St. Francis-Mountain View, Ygnacio Valley.

Even with the steep competition, Northgate coach Jim Changaris said Campolindo is the favorite coming in. But many will be playing their hearts out since playoff positioning is at stake. Wins or losses to certain teams can mean the difference between a No. 1 or No. 2 seed — or getting in at all, in some cases — at the NCS playoff seeding meetings next month.

Who do you think will survive this volleyball extravaganza?