Eric Lusby missed nearly all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Loyola's final game of 2010. He tried to play in the first two games but stopped because the knee didn't feel right.
Lusby felt much better in Saturday's 2012 season opener. He scored a career-high four goals to help Loyola rally from an early three-goal deficit and defeat No. 16 Delaware, 13-8, at the Ridley Athletic Complex.
"It feels great just to be back and to be this productive," Lusby said. "I can move. I can cut. I can run. I'm back to 100 percent, [and] I feel great."
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Loyola University, 2034 Greenspring Dr, Timonium, MD 21093-4114, USA
Lusby, now a graduate student in his final year of eligibility, injured the knee during an NCAA tournament loss to Cornell in 2010, a season in which he finished as Loyola's fourth-leading scorer.
The Severna Park graduate got off a a game-high 12 shots Saturday, and his three third-quarter goals helped Loyola take command.
Delaware (2-1) controlled the first quarter, taking a 3-0 lead. The Blue Hens won all four face-offs, held the ball for long stretches and limited Loyola to only three shots in the period.
But the Greyhounds quickly turned things around and dominated in shots (41-16), ground balls (30-19) and faceoffs (14-7) over the last three quarters.
"They really took it to us for one quarter until we got those jitters out," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "[Then] I thought we settled down. I thought we played together."
Mike Sawyer scored three goals and added an assist for Loyola. Patrick Fanshaw scored twice, his goals coming 41 seconds apart in a five-goal second quarter that let Loyola take the lead for good.
Loyola also got some help from the Blue Hens in that second period. Delaware was hit with three one-minute non-releasable penalties. The Greyhounds scored three extra-man goals and ended up with four scores in 1 minute, 43 seconds en route to a 5-3 halftime lead.
"I think that got them their rhythm back," Delaware coach Bob Shillinglaw said. "I think that got them feeling a little bit of confidence."
Faceoffs were one of the main reasons Loyola turned the game around. J.P. Dalton won 14 of the final 21 draws, most of which came against Dan Cooney, who dominated in the first quarter.
"I knew things weren't really going my way," Dalton said. "You just have to find different ways. I was able to stay up high and get to my right, and I was able to make a play on him."
Junior goalie Michael Bonitatibus made seven saves to earn his first career victory.