Erica Evans’ first goal with Maryland women’s lacrosse doesn’t jump off the highlight tape.

The midfielder cut across a George Mason defender in front of the crease, received a feed from Grace Griffin and finished from close range. Evans didn’t display much emotion after the score: She calmly dropped her stick, offered a few brief hugs to teammates and returned to the Terps’ side of the field to get on with the game.

But the two-goal, two-assist performance in the 16-5 win carried an additional significance. It came more than 18 months after Evans’ last game, and her main response to the debut was relief.

“I got that monkey off my shoulder,” Evans said. “It’s been a while.”

[Read more: A balanced attack led Maryland women’s lacrosse to a season-opening win]

In October 2017, months after Evans earned All-American honors and led Canisius College to a MAAC title, she tore her right ACL in a scrimmage. She then underwent surgery, redshirted the 2018 season and eventually transferred to Maryland, joining a talented midfield corps that seems prepared to carry the Terps this year.

Evans looked comfortable alongside fellow All-American Jen Giles on Saturday. The duo combined for seven goals on 10 shots.

“She’s really settling in. You’re coming in, and it’s your first game in a Maryland uniform,” coach Cathy Reese said. “She has experience.”

Evans had an inauspicious start, failing to bring in a routine pass from Giles four minutes into the first half. But she scored shortly thereafter, then provided an assist for attacker Caroline Steele less than 10 minutes later.

[Read more: Maryland women’s lacrosse opens 2019 campaign with 16-5 win over George Mason]

Evans’ road back has been a long one. After three dominant seasons at Canisius, two All-American selections, an all-world selection and a World Cup silver medal with Canada, her ACL injury put her promising career on pause.

After sitting out the 2018 campaign, she elected to use her last year of eligibility at Maryland, arriving in College Park less than a year after surgery. Despite the hiatus, she found her place in the team.

“It’s tough to transfer in and adjust anywhere, let alone to a lacrosse program like [ours],” Reese said. “But the caliber of player she is, she fit right in.”

The Terps noticed Evans’ impact early on. Her speed and intelligence made an impact almost immediately, the team said.

Evans also found a niche alongside Griffin. They’re both left-handed, giving Maryland a potentially lethal scoring duo from the left side of the field. Evans needed just three seasons to become Canisius’ all-time leading scorer with 186 goals, while Griffin posted 30 goals as a freshman last year.

“We’ve had a lot of fun working together on that left side of the cage and using that to our advantage,” Griffin said.

Evans still has a ways to go, despite the promising debut. She didn’t play all 60 minutes against the Patriots, and she had two turnovers.

But she showed flashes of her ability as one of the top midfielders in the nation and the skill set that made her unstoppable at Canisius and on the international stage.

“I feel the best I have been in a really long time,” Evans said. “It’s exciting.”