SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. -- Over the past couple of seasons, Greenwich has been the Hoosick Falls Central School field hockey team's kryptonite -- with the Panthers unable to get past the Witches on the big stage.
That's why Sunday's final was so sweet.
The Panthers scored a goal in each half, keeping Hoosick Falls perfect. They advance to the regionals for the first time since 2009 after the 2-0 win at Schuylerville High School.
"We've been so close so many times, it was finally nice to break through and come out on the better end, it's a great feeling," said a visibly relieved Hoosick Falls coach Denise Campbell.
In the final, Hoosick Falls was aggressive from the opening whistle, keeping the ball in the offensive zone, playing smart of the field-turf surface. They earned four corners in the first seven minutes and the fourth was inches wide, skidding past Greenwich senior goaltender Samantha Whitehouse.
"We knew it would be tough," Campbell said. "Whitehouse is amazing in goal, she let's very few in, she has 60 career shutouts. It's tough to get around her this time of year, it's [win or go home]."
Having the ball in the Greenwich came back to bite the Witches. With 10:11 left in the first half, Caytlyn Springer took a feed from senior Brooke Davendonis and tipped it past Whitehouse for a 1-0 lead.
"I was so excited, I thought it was going out but Brooke saved it, and i tipped it in perfectly," said Springer, who scored her 18th goal of the year. "Once it hit the backboard, my heart stopped racing. We just needed one or two more and we could win."
Greenwich had two good chances late in the half to get the equalizer, but the Hoosick Falls defense was up to the challenge. At one point, a Greenwich shot crossed the mouth of the crease, but no one was able to take advantage and the Panthers cleared. With under two minutes to go, Greenwich earned a corner, but again, the Panthers kept it out of the circle.
"Our defense corners [were] huge, [Greenwich] usually scores off them," Campbell said. "We also had a bunch of defensive saves. We kept our sticks low, cleared it out when we needed. Ashley St. Onge did a phenomenal job in goal as well."
Overall, Greenwich had six corners, but were unable to get shots on any of them.
"Hoosick is real stingy and good at stepping in front and intercepting the ball," said Greenwich coach Dawn Slater. "I knew it would be intense and back and forth."
Heading into the second half searching for a goal to seal it, the Panthers got it nine minutes in. Carsen Williams fired off a rocket shot from behind the circle and freshman Ally Burdick knocked it past Whitehouse, setting off a roar from the Hoosick crowd.
"We've been stressing [to have their] stick down and Ally [was] in the right place at the right time, a real pretty goal," Campbell said. "The first goal was a huge relief, but Greenwich has always scored on us the last couple years, so I knew one wasn't enough."
Greenwich pushed up looking for any offense, but St. Onge and the rest of the defense held the Witches off -- sending Hoosick to regionals and Greenwich home after an impressive 16-3 record, all three losses to Hoosick Falls.
"It means a lot because we've worked so hard to get to this," Springer said. "Coming in we were so pumped to win, we finally did it and everyone is ecstatic."
Burdick scored her 13th goal of the season in the win.
"It's really great, we wanted this so bad for the longest time, it's really just the best feeling in the world," Burdick said. "I'm so excited and happy to finally win and get the chance to move on."
Hoosick Falls will face Section III champion Cazenovia (14-1-1) on Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.