The Pine Bush volleyball team is making a return trip to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Final Four.
The Section 9 champion Bushmen swept the Section 4 champion Elmira, 3-0, on Saturday at Candor High School to win the NYSPHSAA Class AAA regional championship.
The Bushmen will see a state Final Four format they had also never seen before. Instead of the long day of Pool Play, the tournament will retain the single-elimination format that begins with sectional play.
They will face Section 5 champion Fairport at 8 a.m. on Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls. The winner will face the winner of the other semifinal between Section 2 champion Shenendehowa and Section 8 champion Massapequa.
The Bushmen had an easier path to the Final Four than they did to the regional finals, as they swept Elmira.
In order to face Elmira, they had to survive a grueling contest against Section 1 champion North Rockland on Wednesday at Wallkill High School.
The Bushmen won the first set, 25-23, after building an early 7-0 lead, but the Raiders fought back. Then, North Rockland took the second and third sets by respective scores of 19-25, 23-25, putting the Bushmen one set loss away from the end of their season.
The Bushmen tied the match by outlasting the Raiders, 27-25, in the fourth set, as they forced the decisive fifth.
The fifth set, however, only goes to 15 points. The Bushmen took early control, building an 8-4 lead when the teams switched sides. The Bushmen continued to build an 11-5 lead and punched their ticket to Candor with a 15-10 win in the fifth set.