Maine South's boys volleball players don't plan to make this year's appearance in the Elite Eight their last.
A junior-dominated Hawks team, appearing in the quarterfinals for the first time since a 2006 championship, swept Marist 25-21, 25-20 on Friday at Hoffman Estates.
"It all started last season with all the young guys coming in," said outside Eric Butch, one of eight juniors on the team. "We only lost three seniors last year and everybody pretty much picked up where we left off.
"And we knew were were only going to get better from there."
Against Marist, Butch had a team-high seven kills, two blocks and four aces as the Hawks (34-6) never trailed in Game 1, then pulled away late in a tight Game 2.
Maine South scored five of its six final points in the match on Marist miscues and earned a Saturday semifinal date with 2008 runner-up Buffalo Grove.
The Redhawks (34-6) were in the quarters for the first time since winning it all in 2002. Senior Joe Smalzer paced Marist with nine kills.
No matter how they fare on Saturday, the Hawks seem a good bet for another run to state in 2010.
They have only three seniors on this year's roster, and most of their power comes from juniors Eric Butch (327 kills), Matt Butch (212 kills, 105 blocks) and Evan Bowler (144 kills) and sophomore Spencer Groessl (135 kills).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun