HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Two is always better than one.

Emma Stein scored eight goals for Greenwich during Monday's Section II Class C girls lacrosse play-in game, but the Hoosick Falls Central School duo of Jordyn Haynes and Caitlyn Springer combined to score 13 to lift the Panthers past the Witches 19-18.

"Once [those two] get the ball, their speed and stick work and their dodging, they are tough to stop," said Hoosick Falls coach Lisa Ferrannini.

The contest was one where playing defense seemed optional, as the two teams split 18 goals in the first half and Hoosick edged Greenwich 10-9 in the second.

"It was a nail biter," Greenwich coach Nicole Dixson said. "Hoosick Falls has done their homework and are improving."

The scoring started within the first three minutes of the game, as Hannah Fricke scored to put Hoosick Falls up. The Panthers added two more goals before Greenwich got on the board, but then rattled off two more, from Springer and Haynes, to go up 5-1 with seven minutes gone.

The run forced a timeout by Dixson, but her team came out battling after.

"I just told them that at this point, we were letting the game get away from us," Dixson said. "We had to focus on wanting the ball more than the other team."

Stein scored to make it 5-3 in an interesting turn of events. After Fricke had hit the post down the other end, the ball made its way to Stein, who drove the other way.

Four goals later, and Hoosick took a timeout, down 6-5.

Out of the break, Greenwich scored another through Rebecca Gifford, but Haynes scored two straight to tie things at 7-7, then found Springer to give the Panthers the lead, and then made the lead two when, after turning the ball over behind the Greenwich cage, Haynes forced the ball loose on the restart, scooped it up and smashed home with 4:23 left in the half.

Greenwich responded before the break, with Maria Patane and Stein scoring, Stein's coming with five seconds left in the half, to make it 9-9.

Hoosick Falls Central School’s Caitlyn Springer fights to keep the ball as a Greenwich defender guards her.
Hoosick Falls Central School’s Caitlyn Springer fights to keep the ball as a Greenwich defender guards her. (Geoff Smith / Bennington Banner)

With nothing separating the teams at the break, Haynes thought that her team's ability on draws made the ultimate difference in the second half.

"It kind of depended on who was taking the draw, really," Haynes said. "If there was a tall girl, they wanted me to guide it to wherever [Springer] was. There were shorter people on the circle, so we figured it'd be easier for Caitlyn to get the ball, and it was kind of like an assist and she just ran past everyone."

Springer started the half with a goal to put Hoosick Falls up, but Stein answered in less than 30 seconds to tie things up.

The next three goals ended up deciding the match.

On the restart, Hoosick Falls worked the ball down to Dana O'Malley behind the goal. Looking for an option, O'Malley hit Fricke over the top to make it 11-10. Anna Wysocki scored next, then Haynes scored to put the team up three with 20 minutes to go.

Greenwich never fully recovered from the goals, and after pulling one back Hoosick Falls tallied twice more to go up 15-11. Greenwich got the lead back down to 16-15 on a goal from Courtney Harrington, but then goalie Amanda Thomas committed a costly error as she caught Kara LaFlamme's original shot, only to let the ball fall out of her netting and into the cage to make it 17-15.

But Stein did not let her Witches go out quietly, as she found Patane to make it 17-16, and Stein found answers to goals from Haynes and O'Malley down the stretch to keep it at a one-goal disadvantage.

"Emma is a lefty, which is huge," Dixson said. "She is good at roll dodging and just finding a little bit of net, a little bit of open space, and able to place the ball there."

Stein scored four in each half for Greenwich, while Haynes had four in the first half and three in the second. Springer had three in both periods. In the cage, Zaynah Poore had 15 saves for Hoosick Falls, while Thomas had 14 for Greenwich.

Hoosick Falls now advances into the Sectional bracket, and the team will turn around quickly to face top-seed Albany Academy today at 4 p.m.

Albany Academy has beaten Hoosick Falls twice already this season. The Panthers, though, are just excited to be officially in the playoffs.

"It was pretty nerve-wrecking, because we wanted to get further than we did last year," said Springer, who was on the team that lost to Greenwich in the same play-in game last year.

"It feels really good considering we don't win a ton of games," Haynes added. "But it feels amazing to beat a team that is elite that we play."