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updated: 5/16/2014 3:15 PM

Conant, Schaumburg looking forward to regular Pancratz showdowns

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As soon as Drewann Pancratz accepted the position as Conant's girls volleyball head coach, three former Mid-Suburban League basketball standouts got busy with travel plans.

"My three older brothers (Mark, Zach and Jake who all played for Schaumburg) booked their flights back home so they wouldn't miss the Schaumburg vs. Conant match," Drewann said.

Drewann's mother Jeanette, who directs the Schaumburg girls volleyball program, is one of winningest coaches in the state with nearly 800 victories.

It will mark the first time in Mid-Suburban volleyball history that a daughter and mother will coach against each other.

Upon learning of her brother's travel plans to attend the match, a question popped into Drewann's mind.

"Who are they going to cheer for?" she said with a laugh.

For the past 37 seasons, Cougar fans have been cheering for Peggy Scholten's Cougars.

The Hall of Fame coach is retiring this season after winning more than 660 matches in her career.

"Taking over the program, I know have very big shoes to fill," said Drewann Pancratz, the Daily Herald honorary all-area volleyball captain and all-stater in 2007 when she helped lead her mother's Saxons to the MSL crown. "Coach Scholten has established such a respected volleyball program at Conant and I will strive to continue with the success of the program."

Scholten had nothing but praise for the selection of Pancratz to direct the program.

"I could not be more thrilled for Conant volleyball and the girls," Scholten said. "What a great choice."

Pancratz is currently the sophomore girls volleyball coach and a physical education teacher at Leyden High School, positions she has held since 2012.

She is also the school's head girls basketball coach, as well as the track and field Special Olympics coach.

"As soon as I was hired at Conant, coach Scholten reached out to me and has helped me tremendously," Drewann said. "My goal is to provide my athletes with as much knowledge and opportunity to succeed in their four years at Conant."

Drewann succeeded tremendously in her volleyball career.

She led Carthage College team to three NCAA appearances, including one Final Four finish, and her basketball team to two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances and an Elite Eight finish.

"I have high expectations for my athletes and strive to compete at the highest level of high school volleyball every year," Drewann said. "I hope to instill in them the importance of hard work, communication, teamwork and respect that will not only bring them success on the volleyball court but in the classroom and community as well. Volleyball is my passion and I look forward to this great opportunity."

An opportunity which will become a family affair at least twice each year in conference play.

"Coming from an extremely competitive family, I think there is no better scenario than getting the opportunity to play against my mother's volleyball team," Drewann added. "She is one of the fiercest competitors I know, with an unbelievable work ethic to prepare her athletes to be successful. I could not ask for a better role model as I begin this journey as a head volleyball coach."

As for those two matches against her mother?

"I may be sleeping in the garage the weeks we play them (Schaumburg)," Drewann said with a big smile. "But I wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything."

"When the position at Conant first opened up, my family and I joked around about how fun it would be if we really did get to compete against one another."

Let the fun begin.

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