It begins with a few friendly words -- back and forth jabs -- before Broadneck senior midfielder Rachel Shuck puts on her Bruins uniform and older sister Leann, head coach at Arundel, prepares her Wildcats for one primary task: stopping her younger sister.
Rachel describes the rivalry as "a lot of fun," but Leann sees it a little different.
"That's always a tough game," Leann said. "It's hard because you want her to do well. Then again, you don't want her to do too well. I always hope she'll score a lot of goals and we'll win by one. But I never smile when she scores a goal on us."
On Wednesday night, Rachel turned in a performance that has become the norm in her outstanding four-year career at Broadneck.
With seven goals and two assists, she brought the No. 9-ranked Bruins back from a four-goal deficit in an 11-10 win over big sister and her Wildcats. As for the game-winner, coming from -- you guessed it -- Rachel with 1: 07 remaining?
"I came from the right-hand side with my back to the goal. It was a flip shot -- Leann taught me that," said Rachel. "I would always see her do it when she was at Maryland and she showed me how to turn it. It took a lot of practice."
Having three successful lacrosse-playing older sisters (Jen, an assistant to Leann at Arundel, also played at Maryland and Corinne is now a sophomore at Delaware) can be a major benefit. Also having a father as a recreation coach growing up is a big plus. Rachel, deadly accurate on attack and equally mindful on defense, has taken full advantage.
"Being around lacrosse all her life, Rachel's been exposed to every aspect -- recreation, high school and college. She's picked it up well," said Broadneck third-year coach Karen Chesley. "She controls the field at either end and plays with a lot of poise. And she's very consistent. I know when the ball is in her stick, it's going to be taken care of."
Sports has been a constant in Shuck's life from the start, a steady diet of soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and lacrosse come springtime. And while the latter came to be her No. 1 sport around the seventh or eighth grade, Shuck continued to play the others, racking up 11 varsity letters and being chosen captain in all three sports this year.
"It helps me out a lot being around all the different sports, you can bring all the concepts of each together," said Shuck. "It's been so much fun playing all of them and I didn't want to give any up. It's going to be a little sad and a little weird not playing the other sports next year."
By then, her attention will be focused on lacrosse at Loyola University, where she signed to play and is considering a major in business or education. That's four Shuck sisters, four Broadneck grads all adding up to four college lacrosse scholarships.
"I'd go to my sisters' games at Maryland and see how much fun they had and also how good they were and it made me want to be just as good. And I just thought lacrosse was what I was best at," said Shuck.
She's proven it and then some in her four years at Broadneck, improving her goal output with every season and polishing the rest of her game to build a reputation as one of the of area's most complete players. With Leann an attack player and Jen and Corinne both defenders, did Rachel have much choice?
"Rachel sees the game from a different perspective and that's from being around it as a child. She's been getting coaching tips all her life. She has great field vision and makes things happen," said Leann.
Her steady two-way game is something Chesley has come to expect and rely heavily on.
"Rachel's incredible on defense and so accurate on attack. She runs both ends of the field," said Chesley. "She does the little things as captain, recognizing when things aren't going well and pulling everyone together. Then there's the big picture at the same time when she's most excited about defending to start a fast break and getting down the field to finish with a goal."
"I always think: Do we want Rachel as a feeder or a shooter? Either way, she's been part of most of our goals."
Coming off a 38-goal, 43-assist season as a junior, Shuck already has scored 42 goals and notched 27 helpers this year with the Bruins 8-3 and expecting to challenge when the Class 4A East Region playoffs get started in a couple weeks.
"We're playing very well as a team right now and also having a lot of fun -- that's a big thing," said Shuck, who after Friday's 12-11 win over South River has 120 career goals and 101 assists. "We're confident, catching the ball, playing together and communicating so well."