One way or the other, Amy and Kelly Cross knew they'd be coming home this weekend.

They just weren't sure if it would be as college students starting their summer break, or as athletes playing for a national championship.

Vacation will have to wait.

The sisters from Oreland are midfielders for a fourth-seeded Syracuse team that will play Friday at Villanova Stadium in the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse semifinals against No. 1 Maryland.

"You really can't ask for anything better," Amy Cross said. "Once I found out it was here last year, all I wanted to do was get to this point."

You could say it's a process they started at birth.

Their mother, Dee, is a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and captained the World Cup championship team in 1989. She coached both girls at Upper Dublin.

Their older sister, Ali, played lacrosse at Shippensburg University. The youngest, Julie, is a sophomore at Upper Dublin and has already orally committed to follow her sisters to Syracuse.

"Lacrosse has sort of been one of those bonds our family has. Sometimes all six of us can go in the backyard and just play, and that still happens," Kelly Cross said. "It's just a special thing that we all share a love for."

Once Amy, a junior, decided on Syracuse, it seemed inevitable that Kelly would follow. It helped that Syracuse has three sets of sisters.

Amy's recruiting pitch was pretty simple.

"I was like, 'Mom, come on, don't waste your time. She can look at other places if she wants, but there's really no better place to play lacrosse,' " Amy Cross recalled.

The decision has worked out for both. Amy, who played in the national final last year, has 15 goals and has started 18 of 21 games this season. Kelly has 16 goals in her rookie campaign.

Syracuse (18-3) has won 13 straight games, but Maryland will be an enormous challenge. The Terrapins, who also have a local player in Moorestown's Kristen McAfee, are 21-0 and gunning for an unprecedented 11th national title.

But the Crosses will have the benefit of a big rooting section. Dee Cross estimated nearly 100 friends and family will be there wearing orange and making noise.

She won't be hard to spot.

"When people text me during the game, all I say is I just want to throw up," Dee Cross said. "I don't coach them in the stands at all. I cheer for the team. But my stomach is churning the whole time."

Contact Tim McManus at tmcmanus@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @ByTimMcManus.