THERE HAVE BEEN many siblings throughout history who have played the same sport, but it is rare to see two sisters playing side-by-side at the Division I level.
Oreland, Pa., natives and sisters Amy and Kelly Cross could not be happier to be teammates and midfielders on Syracuse's women's lacrosse team.
Amy, a junior, and Kelly, a freshman, have both played a large part in the team's success, helping the Orange (18-3) advance to their second straight Final Four and the team's fourth appearance since 2008.
Fifth-seeded Syracuse plays top-seed Maryland (21-0) tonight at 7:30 in the second semifinal at Villanova Stadium. Second-seeded Northwestern plays third-seeded North Carolina in the first game. The semifinal winners will meet in Sunday's national championship game.
"Just the overall experience and getting there is huge in itself," Kelly Cross said. "We are hungry and we keep improving every day. It is also great for Amy and I because the atmosphere is kind of like home for us, as Villanova is less than 20 minutes away."
Syracuse advanced to the Final Four after defeating fourth-seeded Florida, 13-9, in the Elite Eight, but face a tough test against undefeated Maryland.
In 2013, Amy and Kelly had very similar statistics. The sisters played in all of Syracuse's 21 games, with Kelly tallying 16 goals, six assists and 22 points on 25 shots and Amy adding 15 goals, four assists and 19 points on 26 shots.
"There is definitely competition between us, especially because Amy is older," Kelly said. "Amy continually pushes me and we have a good bond, but she usually ends up beating me out. It's always healthy competition. There are never fights between us and it's all in good fun."
When Amy Cross decided to attend Syracuse in 2010, she never believed she could have the chance to call Kelly a teammate again. The sisters were standouts at Upper Dublin High, where they played together for two seasons before Amy graduated and moved on to New York.
"I never thought I would get the chance to play with her again," Amy said. "I hoped she would want to come to play with me at Syracuse and that was exactly what happened."
Both Kelly and Amy credit much of their success to the person who taught them the game, U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Famer, Upper Dublin coach and their mother, Dee Cross.
"Our mother taught us things other parents couldn't," Kelly Cross said. "She had a big influence in pushing with tournaments and she has an educational background in the sport. She definitely helped us get to where we are today."
With the help of the Cross sisters, Syracuse hopes to knock off the undefeated Terrapins, and claim the program's first national championship, as well as the first national title for a women's sport at the school.
"We are so ready for Friday," Amy Cross said. "The coaches have prepared us better than ever and we will be successful if we go out there and execute the game plan."