No. 1 Maryland women’s lacrosse’s attack struggled at the end of the first half in its game against No. 2 Michigan. The Wolverines’ tough defense kept the Terps without a goal for over 20 minutes in the middle portion of the game.

Michigan seemed to pull away after scoring five straight. But Maryland attacker Eloise Clevenger, who is known for her passes leading to goals, scored three of her own to put the Terps on top.

Clevenger’s third hat-trick of the season — along with Maryland’s own stout defense — helped the Terps defeat Michigan, 8-6, in Ann Arbor Saturday.

Maryland (10-2, 3-0 Big Ten) remained perfect against the Wolverines in program history, improving to 11-0 all-time. The Terps earned their second win against the second-ranked team in the country after beating then-No. 2 James Madison earlier this season.

“Great win for us out here in Michigan,” coach Cathy Reese said. “It was great for us to just kind of rebound and respond to our loss on Wednesday.”

Michigan leads the nation in defensive efficiency and scoring defense. The Wolverines concede an average of six goals and have kept all but two of their opponents under 10 goals this year.

Erin O’Gradey, Michigan’s starting goalie, missed the game due to an injury. Maya Santa-Maria replaced the junior mainstay in the cage.

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Shannon Smith opened the scoring on Maryland’s initial possession. The midfielder flung a low shot that rolled over the goal line two minutes in. Then, attacker Victoria Hensh scored her 10th of her season with a flashy move.

Hensh picked up possession behind the goal with the shot clock dwindling down. She sprinted to the net, spinning away from Wolverines’ midfielder Josie Gooch. The twisting maneuver allowed Hensh to shoot freely and beat Santa-Maria on another low shot to give the Terps an early two-goal advantage.

The senior’s tally at the 7:53 mark in the first quarter was Maryland’s last of the first half. Santa-Maria posted six saves in the initial 30 minutes. A goalless second quarter was the Terps’ fifth scoreless period of the season.

“They were really sagging in and taking up a lot of space inside the eight meter,” Reese said. “So when they were sagging in, we were getting a little too stagnant as well. There weren’t a whole lot of looks that we could create for ourselves until we could make adjustments to our spacing in that area.”

Maryland boasts similar numbers in terms of shot-stopping. The Terps concede almost eight scores a game, good for fifth in the nation. Their defense was vital in limiting the Wolverines’ scoring run that erased Maryland’s early lead.

Michigan’s leading scorer, Jill Smith, kickstarted a scoring run late in the first quarter. Julia Schwabe added two scores in one minute and Kaylee Dyer beat goalie Emily Sterling, giving the Wolverines a 4-2 lead entering the break.

Maryland’s two-goal deficit was only the second time it trailed after 30 minutes this year. Syracuse led Maryland by one score at halftime, with the Terps eventually winning in overtime.

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Smith added her team-best 37th goal one minute into the new half for Michigan.

Then, Maryland’s lengthy scoring drought from the first quarter finally ended thanks to Eloise Clevenger. The Terps’ leader in assists tapped into her scoring ability to generate Maryland’s attack.

She scored twice in a two-minute span, with her second coming on a dodge to her right and a low shot past Santa-Maria. Kate Sites tallied her second of the season before Hannah Leubecker tied the game at six. Maryland doubled its first half scoring in the third quarter, erasing a three-goal deficit.

Despite giving up five scores in a row, Sterling and the Terps’ defense allowed the attack to draw level.

Maryland forced two Michigan shot clock violations. Sterling warded off three shots, two coming after Smith ripped a shot on frame. She is one of 13 goalies to accumulate over 100 saves entering the game, and made crucial saves late in the contest to prevent Michigan’s primary scorer from converting. She finished with nine total and a 60 percent save percentage.

The Terps prevented a Wolverine score for the final 23 minutes as Clevenger tied her season-high three goals and Leubecker added her second.

After another sluggish offensive display, posting its fewest goals this year, Maryland’s defense guided it to another conference win.

“Things weren’t going great. We weren’t generating great looks at goal,” Reese said. “We needed to be mentally tougher … we could have crumbled. We could have continued on that same path, but we didn’t. We found ways to just be resilient, and to keep fighting, and to keep chipping away.”