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Cross sisters power Knights
Three O’Connell sisters help lead lacrosse team to victory.
Making the varsity girls’ lacrosse team at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington is a big deal. It’s a competitive team with a winning record so far this year.
When two siblings make the same varsity team that’s impressive, when three are on the roster, that’s news.
Courtney, Ashley and Shannon Cross all play on coach Meghan O’Boyle’s lacrosse team.
Courtney is a senior attack wing, junior Ashley is a midfielder as is freshman Shannon.
O’Boyle knows the rarity of three sisters on the same team, but said there’s more to it.
“They’re also really good,” she said.
Courtney and Ashley received second-team honors at the 2011 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference All-Conference girls’ lacrosse awards ceremony. Both girls are on their way to college lacrosse careers. Courtney signed a letter of intent with Villanova University in Villanova, Pa., and Ashley made a verbal commitment to play lacrosse at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.
Courtney’s ready to play for the Wildcats.
“I expect to be more aggressive (at Villanova),” she said.
Both girls are hoping for academic scholarships to supplement the athletic ones.
With Courtney graduating this year and Ashley entering her final year, O’Boyle is positive about a continued Cross contribution to the team. She sees freshman Shannon as a rising star, sure to join her sisters in lacrosse greatness.
Lacrosse is a family sport. Peyton Cross, the girls’ father, played at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., and at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md.
The girls started playing when they were in second grade with “fiddle sticks,” short little lacrosse sticks, and their dad coaching them.
“We played on the beach,” said Shannon.
Ashley was inspired by Courtney.
“I always wanted to be like my older sister,” she said.
Ashley likes the quickness of the game and said that the commonly used phrase, “the fastest game on two feet,” sums up her feelings for the game.
Lacrosse is year-round for the Cross sisters.
In the spring they play for O’Connell, but the rest of the year they play for the Capital Lacrosse League.
All three girls realize that lacrosse, and other sports, teach more than just athletic prowess.
“It teaches real life skills,” said Courtney.
“You need to be well-rounded,” said Ashley. “If you don’t do well in school, you don’t play.”
“Lacrosse helps you (learn) to play with a team,” said Shannon.
She watched the O’Connell team for three years before she joined this year. She is nothing but positive for the team in the future.
“The team has a good chemistry,” she said.
The girls play other sports, too. Courtney and Ashley play field hockey, while Shannon plays basketball.
But ask them what sport they love and the answer is unanimous:“Lacrosse.”