NORMAL (WCIA) — The pressure was on from the start for St. Thomas More. As soon as they were placed in the 1A class this season, the Sabers were pegged around the state as the favorite to win it all. The Sabers took care of business — bringing home the State Championship by beating Southeastern in three sets (22-25, 25-18, 25-17).
“We had people right away congratulating us on our state tournament title,” says head coach Kelly McClure. “You still have to go through the gauntlet of postseason and regular season and you have to build. I was really proud of the way the girls handled that pressure all along the way.”
STM rose up to those lofty expectations Saturday, wining their second state title in school history, losing just one match all season along the way, but the win was far from assured after the Sabers dropped set one.
“We’ve just really loved the pressure, we love high pressure games, we like the challenge,” says Anna McClure. “I think that’s why going into the second set we were all confident.”
Big days from Mallory Monahan and Julia Johnson helped the Sabers get out to comfortable leads in the final two sets before Caroline Kerr set up fellow senior Anna McClure for the winner.
“I would be lying if I said I didn’t purposefully set Anna on that last ball,” says Kerr. “We worked our butts off, all the Seniors have. Even the Seniors on the bench, they’ve been there every day and we’ve all put in the work these last four years. Super proud of them.”
The pressure will be back on STM next season. They lose six seniors, but will return almost 75 percent of their offense as they look to defend their title.
1A State Volleyball Scores
St. Thomas More 2, Southeastern 0 (22-25, 25-18, 25-17)
Aquin 2, Springfield Lutheran 0 (25-22, 25-17)
2A State Volleyball Scores
Montini 2, Pleasant Plains 0 (25-16, 25-17)