Eloise Clevenger held the ball in her stick all alone behind the Syracuse cage. She surveyed the field in front of her, waiting to deliver a pass.

Hannah Leubecker cut rapidly towards the cage unmarked. Clevenger hit Leubecker’s stick, and in one motion, the Maryland attacker shot low to ripple the net.

The score ended the game, as No. 9 Maryland traveled to and beat No. 5 Syracuse in overtime on Saturday, 9-8. The Terps earned their first win over the Orange since 2019 and their first top-5 victory since beating No. 2 Northwestern in 2022.

“We found a way at the end,” coach Cathy Reese said. “Big win for us today and [I’m] just proud of our program and team’s effort.”

Syracuse torched Maryland’s defense in its matchup last season. The Terps conceded 20 goals in a nine-score loss to the Orange.

The defensive unit knew it needed to be stronger to limit the scoring chances for Syracuse, who scored 33 times in its first two games of the season against Northwestern and Army.

But the Terps’ defense started strong on Saturday. Emily Sterling made two saves and Maryland forced a turnover while Syracuse scored on just one of its first four possessions. Payton Rowley was the lone goalscorer for the Orange in the opening frame.

Rowley’s shot midway through the quarter tied the teams at one after Libby May opened the scoring for the Terps in their first possession.

As the defense held Syracuse in check, Maryland’s attack capitalized. Maisy Clevenger and Leubecker scored back-to-back goals with just over a minute passing before ending the period with a 3-1 lead.

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“Our defense came up with some great stops,” Leubecker said. “You have to ride that momentum and capitalize on the offensive end, and make the most of the chances you get.”

Maryland only produced four shots, all on target, in the opening quarter. Syracuse goalie Delaney Sweitzer only saved one.

Emma Tyrrell brought the Orange within a score on a player-up opportunity in their first possession of the quarter. Both attacks then became stagnant.

The Terps turned possession over four times and went scoreless on five shots in the period. Maryland had close calls, notching a free-position attempt and hitting the post on another shot, but failed to capitalize.

While the Terps couldn’t find the back of the net, Syracuse eventually did.

Midfielder Natalie Smith and attacker Emma Ward scored two goals on free position shots in the final minute of the half, giving the Orange their first lead of the game.

Sterling still ended the half with a save percentage over 50, giving up four goals and tallying five saves.

Kori Edmondson dodged past a Syracuse defender and beat Sweitzer on a bouncing shot to end Maryland’s scoring drought of over 15 minutes and put the Terps within one score in the third quarter.

Both teams traded goals — while Edmondson scored her second — midway through the period. With the game tied at six, Edmondson scored for the third time in the period to give Maryland its first lead since it was ahead, 3-2.

[Eloise, Maisy Clevenger proved pivotal in Maryland women’s lacrosse’s season-opening win]

It was the midfielders first hat trick of the season after scoring twice against Saint Joseph’s in the season-opener. She recorded 11 hat tricks in her freshman campaign. Edmondson and Leubecker were the only players on either team to score three goals.

Olivia Adamson and Leubecker scored one each to start the final period, keeping the score tied, 8-8. Adamson converted on Syracuse’s third player-up goal of the game, while Clevenger found Leubecker for her fourth assist of the contest.

With the score still tied late in the fourth quarter, Edmondson was called for a foul in Syracuse’s offensive zone. The Orange went a player-up for two minutes and received a fresh 90 seconds on the shot clock.

Syracuse failed to break down Maryland’s defense. The Terps forced a shot clock violation and received possession with just over a minute left in regulation.

Maryland put the ball in midfielder Shaylan Ahearn’s stick, but Sweitzer saved her shot in the waning seconds, sending the game to overtime.

Sterling came up with a vital save on a Ward shot on the first possession of overtime for the Terps. Maryland and Syracuse both turned the ball over on the ensuing possessions.

During Maryland’s clear attempt, Coco Vandiver was called for a foul and received a green card. The penalty gave the Terps a player-up opportunity, where Clevenger connected with Leubecker for the game-winning tally.

“I was just excited to celebrate with my teammates,” Leubecker said. “We would not have even had that opportunity had the defense not come up with two huge stops.”