The Terps trailed by four goals halfway through the second quarter. Their offense then struck twice, and their deficit was down to two scores entering the final minute of the first half.

But No. 3 Maryland men’s lacrosse couldn’t close out the first half strongly. Devon McLane scored his third goal of the period and Jake Taylor added another score just 14 seconds before the clock hit zeroes.

McLane and Taylor’s late scores gave a crucial cushion for No. 6 Notre Dame, as its lead never dropped below three goals in the second half. The Terps were overpowered against the defending national champions, falling to the Irish in South Bend on Sunday, 14-9.

Notre Dame (3-1) entered the weekend with the most efficient offense in all of Division I, per Lacrosse Reference. That unit wasn’t perfect against Maryland (4-1) — shooting only 32 percent — but kept steady when needed, going on a pair of four-goal runs to take a lead and remain in control the rest of the game.

The Terps’ defense fared well against the potent Irish offense over the first couple possessions of the first quarter, as none of Notre Dame’s first six shots resulted in a goal. Then a pair of Irish stars shined.

Pat Kavanagh masterfully fired a no-look, over the shoulder rocket into the back of the net to give Notre Dame its first lead of the day. Taylor — the Irish’s leading scorer — powered the offense, scoring a trio of goals in the frame for his third hat trick this season. Taylor added another score in the final minute of the first half for a game-high four goals.

[Maryland men’s lacrosse eyes revenge in high-octane rematch with Notre Dame]

Notre Dame struck for three goals over the first four minutes of the second quarter, the latter coming off an unsuccessful Maryland clear.

Coach John Tillman wanted to simulate the Irish’ pressure and physicality in the Terps’ practices throughout the week, especially with their clears.

But Maryland’s unsuccessful clear on a missed Taylor shot near the a few minutes into the second frame immediately resulted in a Chris Kavanagh score to extend the Irish’ lead to 7-3.

McLane starred in the second quarter for Notre Dame, joining Taylor with a first-half hat trick. McLane powered the Irish’ offense, keeping their lead no lower than two for the entirety of the frame — Notre Dame led 9-5 at halftime.

Facing an Irish squad that Lacrosse Reference ranks fourth in defensive efficiency, Maryland’s offensive inconsistencies this season remained. The Terps shot just 25 percent throughout the game, unable to score more than three goals in any quarter.

Daniel Maltz opened the game’s scoring for the Terps with his 100th career goal. Maltz’ shot was initially blocked by All-American goalkeeper Liam Entenmann, but the deflection rolled into the cage to give Maryland an early 1-0 lead.

[Two Maryland men’s lacrosse players earn Big Ten Weekly Honors]

The Terps’ offense struggled in the opening frame beyond Maltz’ goal, connecting on just 20 percent of their shots. Eric Malever’s goal with just 25 seconds left in the period was Maryland’s lone other score over the first 15 minutes.

Malever struck again midway through the second quarter for his second goal of the first half. Malever, who missed all of last year with leg injuries, secured his second straight multi-goal game after a slow start to this season. Malever added a third goal in the fourth quarter for his first three-goal outing since returning from his injuries.

Entenmann began the season strong but entered the matchup coming off of his roughest outing of the season. He bounced back against the Terps though, starring all day to protect Notre Dame’s cage.

Entenmann was especially excellent in the third quarter, saving seven Maryland shots to keep the Irish well in front. Entenmann finished the game with 13 saves and a .591 save percentage.

The Terps’ offense fared better in the second period — shooting 42 percent — but they only registered seven shots and three goals. Their possessions were limited as All-American Luke Wierman struggled at the X in the first half, winning less than 50 percent of his faceoffs.

Wierman fared slightly better in the second half, allowing Maryland to trim its deficit from six goals down to three over the third and fourth quarters. But the graduate student won a season-low 48 percent of his face-offs — making it harder for the Terps to overcome their offensive struggles on Sunday.

The loss marked the second straight for Maryland against Notre Dame as the Terps proved unable to avenge last year’s triple overtime loss to the Irish. It snapped Maryland’s four-game win streak over ranked opponents to start the season.