As parents of twins participating in the Maryvale-Notre Dame Prep lacrosse game Wednesday afternoon at Meadowood Regional Park, Michael and Kim Federico can't lose.
Only the Lutherville couple can't win, either.
That's because daughters Anne and Caroline have created their own private war that is, for the most part, very civil.
Anne plays midfield for an NDP squad determined to keep its stranglehold on the archrival Lions, whose heralded goalie is none other than Caroline, a lefty netminder with the skills to finally turn the tide in the Lions' favor.
The juniors enrolled at different middle schools after attending Riderwood Elementary School because they have always operated independently of one another.
"They've always had their own friends," said Kim, a member of the athletic department at Loyola Blakefield where her brothers — John, Tom and Kevin Haus — starred for the Don lacrosse team. "They're very close, but their personalities are so different. Anne is more reserved while Caroline is more outgoing and gregarious."
The Maryvale grad adds that the girls played on opposite teams several times in rec sports and were both in last year's lacrosse game won by the Blazers, 13-11, in which Caroline started but Anne did not see much action.
Truth be told, lacrosse is not even Anne's No. 1 sport, which in no way dulls her desire for the Blazers to continue their dominance in the heretofore lopsided series.
She's an all-state field hockey player considering the University of Pennsylvania and Lafayette and Davidson colleges to play that sport.
As a top-notch competitor, she knows not to get too emotional for the confrontation.
"I try not to psych myself out too much, because I know she is a really good goalie and this will be a hard game," she said. "The best thing about playing my sister is I could potentially having bragging rights for a long time if NDP wins. The worst is probably trying to score on her. I obviously want to score on her, but I always want her to play well."
That will take some doing, considering Caroline has been schooled by her dad, a three-time All-American goalie who prepped at Boys' Latin and led Johns Hopkins University to three national titles in the late 1970s. He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999.
She has already committed to her dad's college alma mater and is looking forward to meeting her twin on the field.
"I have been playing with her for so long, I know how she plays and where she is going to shoot," she said. "Playing against her pumps me up. I mean who would want to lose to their twin sister? The worst part is probably that she is an amazing athlete and is very feisty."
The very though of Caroline giving up a goal to Anne probably sends shudders through the whole family.
"If she scores on me that wouldn't be good," Caroline understated.
Their coaches are confident the twins will handle the situation with dignity befitting the all-girls Catholic schools' long rivalry.
"Caroline is very passionate about lacrosse and will be ready to play against her sister," Maryvale coach Jessica Vitrano Randisi said. "She thrives under pressure on the field and has been waiting for this game all season. I cannot imagine playing against my sisters, but I think the Federicos have it figured out. They will take it seriously during the game, and probably for about an hour afterward, but then Anne and Caroline will go back to being best friends."
NDP coach Mary Bartel agrees.
"I think there is a healthy measure of competition in the Federico home," she said. "Between that, and the fact that Anne is very cool under pressure of any kind, I am not worried. She brings quite a bit to the table for us, quickness, stickwork, knowledge of the game and competitive nature. She's a team player that will do anything to get the job done."