With 10 minutes remaining in the second half Sunday, Maryland women’s lacrosse attacker Caroline Steele was helped off the field by trainers with a leg injury, one further gut-punch in a final period North Carolina had dominated.

The Tar Heels had stormed back from five goals down to take a narrow lead, but attacker Kali Hartshorn forced the game into overtime for the second consecutive season between the two powerhouses.

And with Steele back on the field with a heavily wrapped left knee, she scooped up a loose ball on a draw control shortly into the second overtime period, raced forward and ripped a side-arm, left-handed shot into the bottom corner of the net, sending the Terps into raptures with a 13-12 golden-goal victory.

“I shot it and just saw it go in,” Steele said. “It was awesome, and I couldn’t wait to celebrate with my teammates.”

Jen Giles continued her hot start to the season, opening the scoring just under two minutes into the game with a solo effort. She faked to her right and accelerated left, leaving her defender in the dust and creating room for an accurate left-handed shot. Giles scored a similar goal 10 minutes later to restore a 4-3 advantage and completed her hat trick with under three minutes remaining in the opening period.

An eight-minute Tar Heel scoring drought combined with a run of rare draw controls for Maryland helped separate the sides, 9-4, at intermission. During the run, goalkeeper Megan Taylor contributed five saves while the Maryland defense provided four turnovers. Maryland also held North Carolina to just 25 percent shooting.

Maryland seemed comfortable at the half and was in a strong position to comfortably dispatch a talented team.

However, North Carolina stormed out of the gate after the break. The Tar Heels came out with more intensity, winning four of the first five draw controls and claiming four early ground balls. They took advantage of the extra possessions and outscored the Terps 8-3 in the last 30 minutes of regulation.

“We got off to a really slow start in the second half,” coach Cathy Reese said. “Carolina gained a lot of momentum.”

Just under a minute into the period, North Carolina midfielder Olivia Ferrucci found space just outside the crease and scored to pull the visitors within four. They added another two goals over the next four minutes, shrinking a strong five-goal lead to a less comfortable two-goal margin.

“I didn’t like where we were going 15 minutes into the second half,” Reese said. “I loved how we rebounded.”

A goal from midfielder Hannah Warther coupled with a big interception and transition finish from Steele restored a four-goal advantage.

North Carolina refused to go away, though. After being quiet for most of the first half, the Tar Heels’ top-scorer Jamie Ortega scored twice in a two-minute span. Her two goals were complemented by a close-range finish from midfielder Gianna Bowe to tie the game with 15 minutes remaining.

Just two minutes later, North Carolina scored off a draw control for their first lead of the game, one of its 11 second-half draw controls.

Maryland’s case wasn’t helped by Steele’s departure. She leapt into the air in an attempt to cut off a pass from North Carolina goalkeeper Taylor Moreno and landed awkwardly before being helped off the field as the Terps were down one with under 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

“My old body is just having a hard time these days,” Steele joked. “Everything will be fine.”

But Maryland wasn’t deterred. After the Terps missed two consecutive shots, Hartshorn tied the game at 12 with seven minutes remaining.

With one minute left, Taylor provided the defining moment of the second half. Ferrucci cut toward the cage and fired a shot that seemed destined to find the net. But Taylor stretched out her stick and saved what surely would have been a game-winner.

“I always say make all the saves you need to and then one or two game-changing saves,” Taylor said. “Luckily, my game-changing saves came at the end.”

With neither team able to find a game winner in the waning seconds of regulation, the contest was sent to overtime.

The Terps were unable to capitalize on a three-man advantage in the first overtime period, but in the second, Maryland managed to win a draw control — one of just seven compared to North Carolina’s 21 — and Steele reversed last year’s overtime loss against the Tar Heels with a game-winner of her own.

“Even when things aren’t going our way, we’ve got to bring ourselves together. Keep your head up and let’s keep fighting.” Reese said. “We did that today.”