Maryland coach Cathy Reese is looking a bit further ahead than she normally would, but it has nothing to do with lacrosse.
Reese is looking forward to having her third child and getting back on the road with her team.
At 38 weeks, Reese is due to deliver her first daughter March 12. For now, she is not traveling with the team, which opened the season with victories at Massachusetts and Boston College and will head to No. 5 Duke on Saturday.
In the meantime, Reese is watching game tapes and helping the No. 3 Terrapins prepare for a one-two Atlantic Coast Conference punch - Duke and their home opener Tuesday against No. 2 Virginia.
"It's hard when you have two such strong teams back-to-back. You can't look past one," Reese said. "Maryland-Virginia is a big rivalry, and it's the same with Maryland-Duke. Two of our four losses last season were to Virginia. For us, that's a big game."
Reese saw a lot of things she liked, especially quick starts on attack, in watching tapes of the 18-7 win over UMass and the 23-10 win at Boston College.
Kelly Kasper was named ACC Player of the Week for scoring nine goals and seven assists in the two games. The Century High graduate, a senior midfielder, tied the school record for assists in a game with six against Boston College. She joins five others who hold the mark, most recently Jen Adams in 2001. Adams is now an assistant coach for the Terps.
Duke poses a challenge because the Blue Devils have a lot of new players. Virginia hasn't had the same kind of turnover and should look similar to the team that scored six unanswered goals to finish off Maryland, 10-7, in last year's ACC tournament semifinal.
Playing two of their top three ACC opponents within four days is one of the toughest stretches of the Terps' regular season.
"It's hard not to focus on that," Reese said. "For us, we have to focus on being better than we were last weekend. In the next three days, we have to tighten up on some things, but we've been working hard, and it's great to play two of the top five teams in the country. Really, our focus is not on how to play Duke [or later Virginia], but our focus is on being Maryland."
Grace Gavin knows how to make a first impression.
The Loyola freshman scored three goals in her college debut against No. 6 North Carolina and followed that with two against No. 13 Georgetown. Add to that her ability to control the draw, and the St. Paul's graduate earned a spot on the Big East honor roll this week - the only freshman to do so.
Loyola coach Kerri O'Day said Gavin stepped right into her role in the Greyhounds' midfield.
"Grace is a really talented, versatile player, and having her able to play both ends of the field and transition for us has played a key part," O'Day said. "We rely on her on draw control and also redefending and pushing our fast break."
The Greyhounds are 1-3 with a win over Davidson, and Gavin has six goals, two assists and 15 draw controls.
Big debut, part 2
George Mason freshman Madalyn Jamison scored twice in her first game, one goal of which will likely hold up as one of the biggest of her career. The Westminster High graduate scored the game-winner to upset then-No. 9 Johns Hopkins, 11-10, on Saturday in the Patriots' season opener. Jamison took only two shots and hit them both. She earned Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week honors and helped the Patriots to a No. 20 ranking.