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For 17 years, Gabby and Livy Rosenzweig were inseparable. Now they’ll face each other on the lacrosse field.

Livy Rosenzweig, left, a junior attacker for the No. 3 Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse team and first-team All American, will see a familiar face on the opposing sideline when the Greyhounds visit No. 9 Penn March 7. Older sister Gabby, right, is a senior attacker and a third-team All American.
Livy Rosenzweig, left, a junior attacker for the No. 3 Loyola Maryland women’s lacrosse team and first-team All American, will see a familiar face on the opposing sideline when the Greyhounds visit No. 9 Penn March 7. Older sister Gabby, right, is a senior attacker and a third-team All American.

Niall Rosenzweig is well into his second season as one of several fans of the Penn women’s lacrosse team who use a bullhorn to implore another group to hold up placards spelling out P-E-N-N after every Quakers goal. But when No. 3 Loyola Maryland visits No. 9 Penn at Franklin Field in Philadelphia on Saturday at noon, Rosenzweig won’t be performing his duty.

“I’m not doing that this weekend,” he said. “I don’t think that would be fair for me to do that this weekend.”

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Rosenzweig’s reticence is understandable. Eldest daughter, Gabby, is a senior attacker for the Quakers (4-0), while youngest daughter, Livy, is a junior attacker for the Greyhounds (4-0), and Saturday’s game will be their first together on the same field under meaningful circumstances since they played for Somers High School in Lincolndale, New York.

“I think it’s definitely a celebration because we’ll be on the same field,” said 21-year-old Gabby, who set single-season school records for assists (63) and points (98) last spring. “I think it’s coming full circle, especially with me as a senior. It’ll definitely be really special.”

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Twenty-year-old Livy, who eclipsed her own single-season school mark for points as a freshman with 116 points a year ago, has a more pragmatic view of their on-field reunion.

“While it’ll be nice to have my family there cheering for both of us at the same time, it’s really Loyola versus Penn, not Livy versus Gabby,” she said. “So I think just going into it with the same mindset that I would with any other game is really important. Then afterwards, we can celebrate and be with each other. But when it’s game time, it’s game time, and we’re both looking to win. It’s really about taking care of business first.”

Penn attacker Gabby Rosenzweig fires a shot during a game against Dartmouth.
Penn attacker Gabby Rosenzweig fires a shot during a game against Dartmouth. (Courtesy of Penn Athletics)

Born 18 months apart, the Rosenzweig sisters were inseparable. For a while, they shared a bedroom, which meant playing with the same toys and wearing the same clothes. Gabby said some of her favorite memories involving her sister were spending time with their grandparents at the Jersey Shore and filling balloons with water.

Livy’s memory is simpler. “She was always there.”

The sisters picked up lacrosse at the same time — Gabby as a third grader and Livy as a second grader. They played on the same recreation, club and high school teams, which meant they volunteered to challenge each other during one-on-one drills.

“Those usually ended up in a fight,” Livy recalled. “Either someone was fouling or there was something unfair. There was always a fight about it no matter what unless there was someone mediating.”

When Gabby committed to Penn as a sophomore, Livy considered joining her sister, but admitted that she is not as strong academically as Gabby is. The entire family, including mother Peggy and brother Nathan, accompanied Gabby on move-in day in Philadelphia in 2016.

“I gave my parents a hug, and I was fine,” Gabby remembered. “I gave my brother a hug, and I was fine. But when I went to say goodbye to Livy, I couldn’t keep it together. I was bawling. She’s my best friend. So thinking about that is so sad. I was just going to miss her a lot. It was just weird because you grow up with someone, and when you’re that close in age, we were doing everything together at that point. … It was hard to say goodbye.”

As much as she missed Gabby, Livy said being on her own as a senior proved beneficial.

“I think it was a growing opportunity for me,” said Livy, who chose Loyola over Penn, Boston College and Georgetown. “I had to take a leadership role. Being a captain in my senior year and not having her there, I think it was definitely different and something that I had to adjust to, but I think I was well prepared for that situation. I missed her a lot on the field and just in every-day situations like school and stuff. But it made me grow a lot as a person.”

Loyola Maryland attacker Livy Rosenzweig looks to pass during a game against Towson.
Loyola Maryland attacker Livy Rosenzweig looks to pass during a game against Towson. (Courtesy of Loyola Athletics/Courtesy of Towson Athletics)

Despite their separation, the sisters have visited each other seven to eight times on their respective campuses. They text daily and video-chat several times a week.

But their interaction reached its limits this week. When they were both home last weekend, Livy asked Gabby about Quakers senior defender Chelsea Kibler’s tendencies on draws, and Gabby refused, citing inside information.

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“I was just asking a question about her and what she likes to do, not really thinking about it like that,” Livy said. “She reminded me that would be giving away some scout stuff. So we had to end that conversation pretty quickly.”

Similarly, Gabby admitted that after watching some film of the Greyhounds defense on Monday, she contemplated texting Livy about a defensive teammate.

“My instinct was to ask, ‘Hey, does this girl play behind [the net]?’” Gabby said. “But she’s obviously not going to tell me that.”

Last Christmas, the sisters presented their parents and brother with specially modified T-shirts featuring three Loyola and Penn shirts cut in half and re-sewn by a friend to feature the schools on each side.

Niall Rosenzweig said he and his wife are more nervous than Gabby and Livy are. He wondered how his daughters are approaching the game.

“I’m sure it’s going to be hard for them, to think, ‘Hey, I have to go out there and beat the pants off my sister,’” he said. “They’ve never had to do that before.”

Peggy Rosenzweig said she and her husband plan to sit with about 40 family members and friends at the 50-yard line at Franklin Field in a show of equal support for Gabby and Livy. After the game, they have reserved a room at a restaurant in Philadelphia to celebrate.

That being said, there will be a winning team and a losing team and perhaps a happy daughter and a sad daughter. Asked how she would deal with such a scenario, Peggy Rosenzweig replied: “I think they just both get big hugs. No words will be necessary for either one of them no matter who the winner is. It’s just big hugs. But I think they’ll be OK, I really do.”

Perhaps the silver lining is that the family will not have to endure a repeat as this is Gabby’s final year of eligibility. Niall Rosenzweig got choked up thinking about his eldest daughter’s college career nearing its end.

“I want it to be a close game, and obviously, I want the girls to have success in the game,” he said haltingly. “I just want them to come together and hug each other after the game. Obviously, it’s Gabby’s last season. So it’s special.”

NO. 3 LOYOLA MARYLAND@NO. 9 PENN

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Streaming: ESPN+

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