Maryland attacker Hailey Russo drifted behind the goal line, searching for her next move.

The junior dodged past her defender as she made a move toward goal. She ran between two James Madison defenders and shot. Goalie Caitlin Boden raised her stick, but the ball already passed it.

The goal extended Maryland’s scoring run to five goals, and pushed the Terps’ lead to four. That lead was more than enough.

No. 9 Maryland defeated No. 2 James Madison, 11-8, in College Park Sunday to earn its highest-ranked win of the season and end the Dukes’ perfect start to their season.

“We knew it was [going to be a battle],” coach Cathy Reese said. “It could go either way.”

The Terps were looking for revenge after James Madison ended their 2023 season in the NCAA tournament second round. After trailing heading into the fourth period, the Dukes staged a furious comeback, scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute.

Maryland led once again after three quarters on Sunday. This time around, it held on, ending a three-game losing streak against the Dukes dating back to 2019.

“Our fifth year seniors have never beaten them,” Reese said. “… This was a really good win and a really special win for them.”

[Maryland women’s lacrosse is flexible in its free position strategy]

James Madison (6-1) entered the contest ranked inside the top-15 in offensive efficiency, according to Lacrosse Reference. Maryland’s (6-1) defense, ranked fourth in defensive efficiency, faced one of its toughest tests of the young season.

Isabella Peterson, the Dukes’ all-time leader in goals, scored her first of the game from eight meters at the 7:10 mark in the first quarter. The senior finished the game with four scores, leading James Madison in goals.

Maryland had its worst defensive first quarter of the season. Maddie Epke, Olivia Mattis and Katelyn Morgan each worked shots past goalie Emily Sterling to give the Dukes a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes, the most scores the Terps have allowed in an opening quarter this season.

The draw control was even in the first half, making every possession important. That’s what made Maryland’s 10 turnovers much more costly.

But amidst the changes in possession, the high ranking Terps’ defense limited the Dukes in the second quarter. Only Savannah Derey scored for James Madison in the frame, allowing Maryland to end the half on a three-goal scoring run.

[No. 9 Maryland women’s lacrosse breezes past William & Mary, 20-5]

Hannah Leubecker kicked off the run, then Libby May extended it.

May scored her first on a Chrissy Thomas dish. James Madison won possession after forcing a Terps’ shot clock violation. The Dukes attempted to clear, but Eloise Clevenger prevented that from happening.

Clevenger won the ball on the defensive ride, picking up a ground ball in the attacking zone. She raced towards goal and lofted a pass to May. May caught the pass and fired a shot into the back of the net.

Her second goal tied the game at five halfway through.

Peterson scored her second goal to open the half — the Dukes’ only third quarter goal — before Maryland completed another lengthy scoring run. The Terps’ first goal in the third quarter didn’t come until the 3:29 mark.

Shaylan Ahearn began the scoring, followed by Clevenger and May. May’s strike completed her first hat trick of the season after scoring 11 a season ago.

The Terps’ run didn’t stop at three goals this time.

Clevenger combined with Leubecker to open the final quarter. Hailey Russo added another less than two minutes later. The five-goal run put Maryland in front for the remainder of the game.

“When we get on a run like that, it’s very fun,” May said. “It helps us keep the momentum for the rest of the game.”

May added a goal late to cancel another Peterson strike. Sterling ended the game with 14 saves, giving up just three goals in the second half in another strong defensive performance.

“I always say, ‘A goalie is only as good as their defense is,’” Sterling said. “And my defense went out there and stuck to our game plan. They set me up to do the easy work back there, and collect what I needed to collect.”

The Terps earned their third ranked win of the season and their first over a top-two team since 2022.