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CHAMPAIGN — Clean volleyball wasn’t the name of the game for St. Thomas More when they faced Rantoul at home earlier this month.

But Tuesday night, the Sabers were sharper, cleaner and, by the end of it, sitting on the doorstep of a regional title.

The top-seeded Sabers (34-2) were a more complete product in Tuesday night’s Class 3A St. Thomas More semifinal, rolling 25-6, 25-12 past the No. 7 Eagles (16-15). They will play No. 4 Mt. Zion, which knocked off Urbana in three sets Tuesday night, at 6 p.m. Thursday for a regional title.

“Any time you have multiple weapons that you can use offensively, it just creates stress on the defense,” McClure said. “We did that (Tuesday). Caroline Kerr distributed the ball very well for us and she was able to do that because our passing was very sound.”

Kerr’s 20 assists emphasized the Sabers’ effective distribution, with Anna McClure knocking down seven kills and Allie Trame and Maris Green each laying down six kills.

A former Illini, Kelly McClure commended her players on following through on the game plan that forced Rantoul out of its system. It was the type of low-error play the first-year Sabers coach strives to see every match.

“The improvements are the smaller details, the fine-tuning of some of those skills and our positioning at this point,” McClure said. “But we’re just looking to compete every time we step on the court.”

Sports Copy Editor

Jordan J. Wilson is a sports copy editor at The News-Gazette. His email is