NORMAL (WCIA) — Caroline Kerr and Anna McClure have been on this stage before. Three years ago they led St. Thomas More to a third place trophy as freshmen. Now everything is coming full circle for the seniors who will play for the Class 1A state championship after beating Freeport Aquin in three sets 19-25, 25-22, 25-18 Friday morning at Redbird Arena.
“My freshman year they really set the tone for what they wanted the program to be going forward,” St. Thomas More senior outside hitter Anna McClure said. “That was something me and Caroline (Kerr) really focused on during this match too was just really being calm for the underclassmen.”
The Sabers had to overcome some adversity early in the first set, when the Bulldogs went on a 14-4 run. It would end up being the first time the Sabers lost a set since October, but they battled back to take the match in three.
“We had to put it behind us,” St. Thomas More libero Colleen Hege said. “First sets over, forget about that. We just had to move on from that one.”
“To have this first game under our belt means everything against a very good team and so to be one step closer to our ultimate goal is definitely setting the standard for what we want tomorrow,” Kerr added.
The Sabers improve to 40-1 on the season and are just one victory away from their second state title in the last five years. St. Thomas More will take on Southeastern in the Class 1A state championship match at approx. 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The Lady Suns knocked off Springfield Lutheran in the other Class 1A semifinal match.
In Class 2A, Pleasant Plains swept Chicago Christian 25-17, 25-21 in the semifinals to earn the right to play for a state championship on Saturday. The Cardinals will face Lombard Montini at approx. 1:55 p.m. after the Lady Broncos beat Breese Mater Dei 25-11, 25-10.