Position change doesn’t phase CdS volleyball star

By Brian Gomez

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Fresh off a motivating sophomore season in which she started at middle blocker on the Corona del Sol High School girls varsity volleyball team, Aubrey Pancratz was prepared to handle anything, even a position change in arguably the biggest tournament of her competitive career.

Pancratz was just as dominant last summer when playing right side on Arizona’s High Performance team, runners-up in the silver division of the Volley Classic, an annual tournament used to evaluate prospects for USA Volleyball’s Junior Olympic squad.

“It’s really good for experience and exposure,” said Pancratz, who managed to make her presence felt on the prestigious team for the second straight summer, despite seeing decreased playing time at the Dixie Center.

Moving to right side was a big change because Pancratz was forced to maintain her ground instead of being allowed to roam freely along the net. She also had to set more than she did as a middle blocker.

“The toughest part about right side is that you have to set,” Pancratz said. “As a middle, you’re running around a lot more. As a right side, you just set up to block.”

Learning a new position enables Pancratz to be much more appealing to college coaches, some of whom traveled to St. George from volleyball powerhouses, such as Florida, Long Beach State and UCLA.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from having direct communication with high school student-athletes until after their junior seasons, although Pancratz already has received letters from several colleges. She wants to play at a Division I school along the West Coast.

“She has shown a lot of character, and she puts her team first,” said Glendale Community College coach Lisa Stuck, who guided Arizona’s High Performance team.

Pancratz made the position change seem easy by excelling in the fundamentals that have enabled her to have so much success in her career.

She showed great lateral movement, her footwork looked flawless and her court awareness was outstanding in eight Volley Classic matches played under the rally scoring system that was used by Arizona high schools for the first time this fall.

“She’s a really good team player, and she brings some intangibles to the court,” said Desert Vista coach Molly West, who coaches Pancratz’s Ahwatukee-based Arizona Foothills club team. “Players like to play around her because she has a good personality on the court.”

Reach the reporter at brian.gomez@wranglernews.com.