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Maryland women's lacrosse.

Maryland Bounces Back, Hands Michigan its First Loss

March 30, 2024
Mackenzie Mielke
Chris Lyons / Maryland Athletics

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — While its two first-quarter goals got Maryland on the scoreboard, its second-half effort of six goals against the nation’s top ranked defense cemented its win.

In the slow first half for the Terrapins, Michigan — which entered undefeated — went on a four-goal run without a response in sight. But in the third and fourth quarters, Maryland took back the game.

Five different scorers, including a hat trick from Eloise Clevenger, were the deciding factors in the Terrapins' comeback 8-6 win, which dealt the Wolverines their first loss of the season. Maryland, which entered the week No. 1 in the national polls, lost Wednesday to Penn before recovering Saturday.

Maryland (10-2) needed just 71 seconds to score, as Clevenger found Shannon Smith early. Victoria Hensch put Maryland up 2-0 halfway through the opening period.

Though Michigan (11-1) fired 18 shots in the first two quarters, it struggled to find space in the Terrapin defense.

While Michigan scored four goals in the first half and led 4-2 at the break, the game stayed within reach due to Maryland’s Emily Sterling. The two-time Big Ten Goalie of the Year and 2024 Tewaaraton Watch List candidate made nine saves.

Even with the defensive support going into the second half, Maryland needed to find its offense — not an easy task against the Wolverines. Another Michigan goal 55 seconds into the third quarter by Jill Smith inflated the lead to three.

“We definitely got off to a really slow start,” Maryland coach Cathy Reese said. “But Michigan played some great defense on us, and we just needed to make some adjustments. [We] had to come out and kind of change the way we were attacking things.”

Clevenger delivered just 20 seconds after Smith’s goal. Taking an assist from Libby May, Clevenger looped around from behind the cage to pocket the ball in the corner. In a quick turnaround just 1:14 later, Clevenger drove up the middle. After a pivot from a defender, Clevenger netted her second goal and cut the deficit to 5-4.

Kaylee Dyer assisted Ava Class to get the Michigan lead back up to two goals at 6-4 with 8:53 left in the third quarter. Maryland had a two-goal deficit to make up and only a quarter-plus left to make it happen. Its solution: two goals in one minute.

A quick shot from Kate Sites up the middle went right through Maya Santa-Maria’s legs. Santa-Maria came on in relief of Erin O’Grady, one of the nation’s top goalies in 2024 who left after 18:18.

Hannah Leubecker followed with a cut around her defender to find the look and sling the ball in the corner for a 6-6 tie.

The newly revived Maryland offense continued its streak in the fourth quarter. And the defense did its job, too, shutting Michigan out for the final 21:07.

“Through halftime, we didn’t score as much as we wanted to, but coming on that second half, we knew we needed to go a lot harder,” Clevenger said. “Actually want to go to the goal and score, and I think we did that.”

The Terrapins clearly wanted it in the fourth quarter.

Back again to give Maryland the lead for the first time since the first quarter was Leubecker. Against the Wolverines tightened defense, Leubecker found enough room to get off a shot, giving the Terps a 7-6 lead with 13:12 left.

The defense kept giving Maryland opportunities, as it forced Michigan into five fourth-quarter turnovers.

Clevenger finished her hat trick off a midrange shot that bounced right in with 4:40 left. Michigan couldn’t respond, ending its attempt at claiming the No. 1 national ranking.

“I’m just really proud of our team’s effort and our mental toughness in the way they fought back, just chipped away the whole game,” Reese said.