MAHOMET — Just once in its entire 2019 season entering Monday did St. Thomas More volleyball fail to win a single set during a match.
That figure doubled at the worst possible time. And against a familiar opponent.
Rochester delivered the Sabers that rare 2-0 loss on Oct. 12 and dealt STM a similar blow in the Class 3A Mahomet-Seymour Sectional semifinals, collecting a 25-18, 25-23 victory Monday evening.
“It was just another match,” Sabers coach Kelly McClure said. “We knew we competed really well with them (in October). That was a tight match.”
McClure did acknowledge some defensive adjustments necessitated by the prior loss to the Rockets (31-6). But those weren’t enough for STM (35-3) to extend its first foray into 3A playoff action.
“(Rochester has) five or six offensive weapons that we were having to keep track of,” McClure said. “They did a really nice job of running their offense. It felt like we were on the defensive side of things quite a bit.”
The Sabers finally got into a groove in the second set’s latter half. It was just too little too late for last year’s third-place 2A program.
Allie Trame finished a stellar prep career with seven kills. STM volleyball put together a 143-17 record in Trame’s tenure, which included News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year status in 2018.
“She’s the heart and soul of our program,” McClure said. “We’re going to miss her so much. She definitely left her mark and left her legacy at STM.”
Other key contributors in Monday’s defeat were Anna McClure (seven kills, 13 digs), Caroline Kerr (19 assists) and Colleen Hege (15 digs). All three are underclassmen — as is everyone on the Sabers’ roster not named Trame.
“We saw a lot of players grow up this season,” Kelly McClure said. “They were put in situations that, I think, really grew and stretched them. I think they’re going to be better for it.”