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UMass pulls away in second half to beat George Washington in Atlantic 10 women’s lacrosse tournament semifinal

AMHERST — Even with Atlantic 10 Offensive player of the Year Katie Ferris limited because of an illness, the University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team still found plenty of scoring in its Atlantic 10 tournament semifinal.

UMass coach Angela McMahon delivered an impassioned speech at halftime and the Minutewomen responded. They scored the first six goals out of intermission, including five before George Washington even attempted a second-half shot, and rolled to a 13-5 win Friday at McGuirk Stadium.

“We needed more intensity. We needed to get fired up,” McMahon said. “I thought our energy was a little flat. GW was excited. You could hear them cheering constantly. We needed to not only match that but surpass that to win this game We did a real good job of responding to that.”

UMass (16-2) will face Duquesne (11-6) for the Atlantic 10 championship, Sunday at 1 p.m. at McGuirk.

“We have to make sure we come out with the energy and intensity on Sunday that we lacked in the first half today,” McMahon said.

Leading 5-4 at halftime, Tanner Guarino (two goals, one assist) started the game-clinching surge, scoring 57 seconds into the second half. Cori Murray (two goals, three assists) and Sam Rush (three goals) added back-to-back goals to stretch UMass’ edge to 8-4 with 26:18 left as the Minutewomen seized momentum.

“We had a great second half,” Murray said. “We dominated time of possession and scored a lot of goals.”

Ferris (one goal) beat GW goalie Jess Hicks with 23:43 left in the second half to make it 9-4. After that goal and as the Minutewomen pulled away, Ferris spent most of the game sitting on a table under a shade tent on the UMass sideline.

“I’m just sick,” Ferris said. “I’m trying to play when it’s most needed. The girls got it done today so I didn’t have to. It’s nice to know they can do that.”

McMahon said what Ferris did do, helped.

“She did a great job in the second half of helping us get some momentum going,” McMahon said. “Once we got that comfortable lead we could give her a little bit of rest.”

Ferris said she hoped it wouldn’t be a factor Sunday.

“I hope not, I’m getting better,” she said.

George Washington led 1-0 and 2-1 early, but Amy Tiernan, Lauren Terracciano and Melissa Carelli (three goals) scored three straight goals to put UMass ahead 4-2. The Colonials cut the lead to 5-4 at halftime before the Minutewomen hit the accelerator and raced away in the second half.

“In the second half we played so much better,” Rush said. “We’re not ready to end our season.”

Jamie Schiloski made five saves for UMass.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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