In an odd exchange in front of the net, Maryland fullback Jeff Ulehla knocked in the winning goal for American when the ball ricocheted off his knee, giving the 20th-ranked Eagles a 2-1 overtime victory over the seventh-ranked Terrapins yesterday in College Park.

With about seven minutes left in the 30-minute overtime period, American forward Mario Medina dribbled downfield and seemed trapped to the right of the Maryland goal. Looking for an opening, Medina chipped a pass to Jose Aservi, whose shot was deflected at the goalmouth by Maryland goalkeeper Carmine Isaaco. The ball then ricocheted off Ulehla into the net.

The Eagles (7-0) responded from a 1-0 first-half deficit to defeat the Terrapins for the first time since 1985.

Maryland (4-2-1) never was able to fully regain its composure and the Eagles stemmed any offensive advances to secure the victory.

"It was a hard game," Maryland Coach Alden Shattuck said. "There is going to be a bit of luck in a one-goal game when two teams are evenly matched and both playing well and playing hard. A piece of luck one way or the other is going to win it. We probably would have won it on a piece of luck too."

For the Eagles, the miraculous victory was a big boost to a team that viewed this game as a gauge of where it stood in comparison with the country's other talented teams.

"I think {the win} is an indicator that means we can be very competitive with the very best in the country," American Coach Pete Mehlert said. "On any given day, we can be beaten. And of course on any given day the other team can have all the possessions they want to, so long as we don't give them too many good chances in the box."

That was definitely the case in the first half as Maryland generated three shots on goal and held the Eagles without a shot.

The Terrapins took a 1-0 lead at 14:26 when the American defense allowed its first goal of the season after six straight shutouts.

Paul Boardman delivered a cross to Nigel Burdett, who lofted a pass for Andy Zamora. Zamora headed the ball into the right corner of the net.

But the young Eagles, who started just two seniors, tied it just 27 seconds into the second half. Senior Andrew Kress centered the ball to freshman Eric Leiben, whose pass went to Diego Rebagliati. Rebagliati directed the ball into the net.

George Mason 2, GW 0: Senior forward Larry Tabash (Robinson High School) scored his first two goals of the season to lead the Patriots at Francis Field. The loss was the first in four games for the Colonials (3-3-1). George Mason improves to 5-1-2.

Howard 1, Navy 0: Midfielder Kona Hislop headed a pass from Muyiwa Omotajo past goalie Van States in the 67th minute to lead the Bison (2-4) at Greene Stadium. The Midshipmen (2-5) have lost three straight games.