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Maryland beats UMass, 15-12, in first round of NCAA women's lacrosse tournament

From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, 20 members of the

Maryland

women's lacrosse team had final exams. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., they gave one to visiting

Massachusetts

.

The third-seeded

used their up-tempo, run-and-gun offense to go on a five-goal run midway through the second half and defeat the visiting Minutemen, 15-12, in a first-round

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tournament game.

Maryland (18-3) was led by

(South River), Kelly McPartland and

(Glenelg), who each scored three goals. Jesse O'Donnell, Tanner Guarino and Nina Sarcona scored three goals apiece for UMass.

The

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will host Saturday's Division I quarterfinal at noon against the winner of Sunday's Loyola-Pennsylvania game.

One of the most crucial stretches the game was the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. With the

leading 7-5 and less than a minute left in the half, the Minutemen (19-2) held the ball, waiting for a good shot. The Maryland defense held, forcing a turnover to run out the clock.

Maryland wasted little time extending its lead in the second half. The

won the draw, and McPartland fired the ball to an open Griffin, who deposited it past UMass keeper Katie Florence to extend the lead to 8-5 just 13 seconds in.

"Our team has the ability to turn it on and play in the moment," Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. "We got the draw, and we made things happen. They chose to hold the ball today, and I think we learned to make every possession count."

UMass managed to keep the game close, narrowing the gap to 10-7 when Sarcona scored with 18:23 left. Then the

turned on their high-powered offense.

First it was Griffin hitting McPartland in stride with a pass for an open shot in front of the goal with 17:41 left, then Alex Aust scored on a nice shot in traffic in front of the goal at 12:34 to run the lead to 12-7. Griffin (at 11:45), Century alum

(at 11:24), and Black (at 6:47) also found the net to run the lead to 15-7 with 6:47 left to play.

The Minutemen weren't done, adding five goals to account for the final margin.

The

did a great job frustrating UMass' Katie Ferris. Ferris, the

Atlantic 10

Player of the Year, had only one goal and left the game with 9:57 remaining after receiving her second yellow card.

"She's a pretty talented player," Reese said. "We just tried to limit her chances, and we challenged her. They had some other players who stepped up in her absence."

Asked whom she would rather play on Saturday, Reese smiled.

"It's all about Maryland," she said. "It really doesn't matter. If we step on the field and execute on offense and defense, then whatever happens, happens."

Goals:

MA—O'Donnell 3, Guarion 3, Sarcona 3, Ferris, Terracciano, Defliese; MD—Griffin 3, McPartland 3, Black 3, Schwarzmann 2, Aust 2, Johnson, Mendez.

Assists:

MA—Ferris, Houlis, Terracciano; MD—Griffin 3, Schwarzmann 3, Aust, Johnson, McPartland.

Saves:

MA—Florence 6, Vallarelli 3; MD—Dipper 4.

Half:

MD, 7-5.

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