NORMAL, Ill. -- It was a stroke of luck.
Champaign St. Thomas More and Quincy Notre Dame were tied at 21 in the third set of Saturday afternoon's championship match in the Class 2A state volleyball tournament, and Notre Dame was serving to take the lead.
The Raiders appeared to be getting a free ball on the third hit from the Sabers. Mica Allison was merely punching the ball over the net with her left hand, but the ball hit the tape, rolled along the net and dropped on the Raiders' side.
QND never did recover from that point, losing 18-25, 25-19, 25-21 at Redbird Arena.
The title is the first in school history for St. Thomas More (39-3). It's the fifth second-place trophy for the Raiders (33-9), who also have won four state titles.
QND's blocking surprised the taller Sabers in the first set. The Raiders scored 17 of the first 25 points and never let the score get closer than six points.
Allison took over in the second set. The talented outside hitter and setter, who has committed to Auburn, had six kills in the set, and she had a seven-point serving run that put the Sabers ahead 14-8.
The score was tied at 9-9 in the third set when St. Thomas More got kills from Allie Trame, who has committed to Alabama, and Brianna Hopper and an ace from Kayla Brandon to go ahead 12-9.
The lead grew to 18-14, but QND turned the tide on a block by Taylor Keck. That point led to two more for the Raiders to make the score 18-17.
QND eventually tied the score at 20. Maddie Peters kept a ball alive with a sprawling dig, and Sydney Hummert put down the kill. The teams then traded points before Allison's go-ahead kill.
St. Thomas More scored the 23rd point when Hummert ran into Maddie Peters, the setter. Allison blocked Monica Brown for the 24th point, and Brianna Hopper's kill down the line ended the match.
Hummert had 12 kills for QND. Allison had 12 kills for the Sabers.