Local products in lacrosse Final Four

Posted: May 23, 2014

CASEY AND Jamie Ikeda started playing lacrosse together just outside Philadelphia even before they hit grade school. They picked up the game watching their older brother, Brian, and wanted to be just like him.

This weekend in Baltimore, at M&T Bank Stadium, they could have a chance to play against each other for much more than bragging rights. Both went to Conestoga, and now Casey is a junior at the University of Maryland and Jamie is a sophomore at Duke University. And both are playing in the NCAA Final Four.

Tomorrow afternoon, if Duke can get by Denver, which took down Drexel in the quarterfinals, and Maryland can conquer Notre Dame, the brothers will meet Monday with the national championship on the line.

"It would be a dream come true for both of us," Jamie said. "We have been playing lacrosse for so long. It would be cool for the household to see us both there."

"It would be really exciting for my family to have both of us in the national championship game if possible," Casey added. "I haven't thought of it too much. We have a really good Notre Dame team in front of us. I know they have a really good Denver team ahead of them. It would be something we would be excited about in the moment if it were to arrive."

It is Casey's first time playing on Memorial Day weekend, while Jamie has been to the Final Four in both of his seasons at Duke. Both defenders, the brothers see the value in their situations, even if they don't end up playing against each other.

"It was always so much fun playing with him," Jamie said. "He is obviously a great leader. He is a tough act to follow. I love playing against him too whether it is the backyard or the big stage, so it would be a lot of fun."

Meanwhile, the women's Final Four is also this weekend, at nearby Towson University. As the Ikeda brothers are hoping to meet in the final, and secretly hoping the other loses if they do, the Cross sisters are on the same side.

Amy and Kelly Cross went to Upper Dublin High School, 2 years apart. When Amy chose Syracuse to continue her education and lacrosse career, it instantly became her younger sister's choice.

"At the end of the day, Syracuse was the only school who offered me a chance to play with Amy again," Kelly said. "We had an amazing time in high school playing together. It was so much fun that going to Syracuse became a no-brainer."

Being on the same team at the college level is much different from high school, but the Cross sisters enjoy it just as much. Sometimes, it becomes a bit surreal for them when they end up in the game together.

"Having her here, it is more competitive," Amy said. "We push each other and work hard during the summer together. Being able to play together on the field is really cool. We are both middies and sometimes I turn around and we are on the field together, which is awesome. It is a really cool experience for my whole family."

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