By Lisa Byers
Fort LeBoeuf coach LeAnn Johnson didn’t have a whole lot to say following the Bison’s three-game loss to Conneaut in the District 10 Class AA championship match back on Nov. 2.
But then she had some time to rewatch it on film.
“At the end you’re thinking, ‘Oh, that wasn’t very good,’” Johnson said. “Then you go back and watch it and I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s a great swing. Wow, that’s a really good serve.’ And on that day, Conneaut was just better.”
Fort LeBoeuf and Conneaut meet again today at 7 p.m. at Meadville Area Senior High’s House of Thrills in the PIAA Class AA semifinals with a spot in Saturday’s state championship match at Central York High School on the line.
Conneaut snapped Fort LeBoeuf’s 37-match winning streak with its 25-19, 25-23, 25-16 win over the Bison in the District 10 title match. The win moved the Eagles up the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association rankings where they currently sit fourth. Fort LeBoeuf, the defending state champions who spent the first several weeks in the No. 1 spot, dropped to No. 7.
LeBoeuf and Conneaut later shared the same gym at Slippery Rock High School during this past Saturday’s PIAA quarterfinal round. LeBoeuf swept WPIAL champion Freeport. Then afterward, Conneaut downed WPIAL runner-up Indiana in four games.
Fort LeBoeuf fans who stayed to watch the Conneaut-Indiana quarterfinal match didn’t seem to be all that excited about a rematch with the Eagles. And the Eagles took notice.
“I’m guessing they probably weren’t cheering for blue today,” Conneaut libero Kim Litwin said.
The Eagles are also aware that despite what happened on Nov. 2, they are still going to have to give it their all for the rematch.
“LeBoeuf is going to be another big game for us,” she continued. “So we just need to get in and focus on that.
“It’s always a different game. Every day is different.”
One key difference for the rematch with LeBoeuf is that in the D-10 title match, regardless of what happened, Conneaut and Fort LeBoeuf were going to keep playing. Today, only the winner moves on.
“We need to go in the gym and take care of some things we are lacking in right now to get ready for (today’s) match,” Conneaut coach Tim Schleicher said. “It’s one and done right now.”
And this time there’s a pretty sweet reward at the end.
“There is, there is,” Schleicher said. “I think the West will be well represented. It’s going to be a fantastic match.”
“It’s do or die,” Litwin said. “We’re going to do … I hope.”