STM volleyball wins state title

STM volleyball wins state title

The best high school volleyball team nearly all season long in our area is now the best Class 2A team in the state.

St. Thomas More rallied to defeat Quincy Notre Dame 18-25, 25-19, 25-21 on Saturday afternoon in the 2A state title match at Redbird Arena in Normal.

"I'm very happy," STM coach Stan Bergman said. "It's very special. It's really exhilirating. I can't even describe it. It's great."

The Sabers, who had never won a sectional championship prior to this season, are the first high school from Champaign County to win a state volleyball title. The state tournament started in 1974.

The Sabers closed the season on a 13-match win streak. After rattling off a 23-match win streak during the season, STM recovered after its last loss this season, a two-set thriller against Payson Seymour on Oct. 14, to go on an epic postseason run.

"It really doesn't feel real," STM senior Hayes Murray said. "But it's awesome."

Payson Seymour won the 1A state title earlier on Saturday. The Sabers are led by Auburn signee Mica Allison, while Alabama commit Allie Trame and a host other athletic options STM has delivered Bergman, in his third season at STM, and the school its fifth state title.

The 2017 STM volleyball team joins the 2013-14 girls' basketball team, the 2012 boys' cross-country team, the 2010 girls' golf team and the 2008 boys' golf team as state champions.

In Saturday's championship match, Allison led the way for STM (39-3) with 12 kills, 12 assists and five digs. Trame added 10 kills, Lucy Lux-Rulon chipped in nine kills, Murray distributed 22 assists and Haley Elam made 14 digs.

"It's crazy that we just won a state championship," Allison said. "It feels really good."

Read up on STM's state semifinal win on Friday against Harvest Christian

On the football field today, first up is Westville. The Tigers (11-0) host Shelbyville (9-2) in a Class 2A state quarterfinal game at 1 p.m. Guy Goodlove's program is back in the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 when Westville placed second in state.

The Tigers' offense features key playmakers like quarterback Duncan Hathaway, running backs Owen Mariage-Tucker and Cameron Nicholas, and wide receiver Tylan Stricklett.

But Westville's offensive line is key to making Westville go.

Read up about the starting five the Tigers trot out in the trenches here

Another area team is still alive in 2A. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (11-0) will host El Paso-Gridley (7-4) at 2 p.m. in the state quarterfinals.

The two Heart of Illinois Conference schools already met once this season, with the Falcons easily winning 45-18 in Week 3. 

The GCMS defense has been stout all season, only allowing 66 points.

The reason? Their balanced and aggressive defensive line.

Read up about that unit right here

The other area team still playing today is Tuscola.

The Warriors (11-0) will host Carrollton (10-1) at 2 p.m. in Tuscola. Coach Andy Romine's program is back in the state quarterfinals for the second straight year and one of the area's perennial powers is trying to make the state semifinals for the first time since 2014.

Quarterback Luke Sluder has emerged, especially in the second half of the season, to take this high-powered Tuscola offense to an even higher level.

But it wasn't all just fun and games for Sluder as the junior signal-caller has matured into a dependable option for the Warriors.

Read about Sluder's overall growth as a player and person right here

For scores on these games throughout the afternoon, check out our scoreboard below.

SATURDAY, NOV. 11 Score Quarter

Class 2A volleyball

St. Thomas More 18, 25, 25 FINAL
Quincy Notre Dame, 1:55 p.m. 25, 19, 21  

Class 2A football

Shelbyville 51 FINAL
at Westville, 1 p.m. 44  
El Paso-Gridley 7 FINAL
at GCMS, 2 p.m. 42  

Class 1A football

Carrollton 20 FINAL
at Tuscola, 2 p.m. 48