Rainone sisters meet as Syracuse hosts Connecticut

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Brenna Rainone has been looking forward to Syracuse’s Friday matchup against the Connecticut Huskies since January — of 2011.Rainone committed to SU as a junior from nearby Westhill High School, and though playing for an elite lacrosse program enticed her, there was another major factor involved in her decision: having the chance to play against her older sister Mackenzie, a midfielder at UConn.Mackenzie’s Huskies (6-0) travel to Syracuse on Friday to take on Rainone’s Orange (3-2) at 3 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. It will be the first and potentially last time the sisters will square off and the last time Syracuse and Connecticut play, as the Orange departs for the Atlantic Coast Conference next year.“Playing against her, that was a lot of the reason why I chose this school,” Rainone said. “I know it’ll be fun for my parents to see. It’s going to be fun to see who wins. Hopefully, I go up against her because that’s what I’ve been looking forward to for the last four years.”Rainone plays on the right side of the SU attack. Mackenzie plays defense on the same side, so the sisters could meet one-on-one several times. If they do, Rainone said it will be difficult to take the situation seriously. She said there will probably be a lot of swear words involved, but also a lot of smiling and laughing.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We’re so close that we’re competitive, but we can never get legit mad at each other,” Rainone said. “I’ll be mad if she takes the ball away from me or checks me, but I could never stay mad at her.”With a three-year age difference, the sisters’ careers only overlap for two seasons. Rainone played on Westhill’s varsity team as an eighth-grader and high school freshman while Mackenzie was a junior and senior, respectively. At Westhill, Rainone took her skill to the next level by watching Mackenzie and listening to her constructive criticism.Westhill head coach Tim Alberts called both sisters hard-nosed players with a special desire to win and a good, hard work ethic. He also noted their exceptional footwork, calling it “almost like a dance.”“As a coach, you have certain players come through that definitely leave a mark,” Alberts said. “You hope that everybody can strive to the competitiveness and level of joy those two have playing lacrosse. Their love of the game is evident. They just have this lacrosse aura about them.”But after high school, Mackenzie wanted “something different” and the chance to make a difference in an up-and-coming lacrosse program. As a lifelong SU fan, choosing a heated rival was tough. People at home tease her for going to UConn, Mackenzie said, and people in Connecticut nag her about being from Syracuse.“It’s her home team and always will be her hometown team,” Rainone said, adding that her sister still prefers SU’s men’s basketball team to UConn’s.Rainone and her sister have always been close, but their two years playing together improved their relationship even more. They talk every day, with the expected smack talk included. This week, Rainone asked Mackenzie for UConn’s defensive alignments. Her sister refused.But without question, they support each other. When Mackenzie came to the Dome her sophomore year to play the Orange, Rainone attended wearing a Syracuse sweater with a Connecticut shirt underneath. This past weekend, though, Rainone attended a UConn game in Storrs, Conn., wearing all of her Syracuse attire.On Friday, Alberts and the entire Westhill team will be on hand. Rainone family members are coming from as far as Colorado and Boston, and will be wearing specially made T-shirts. The girls’ father, Joe, will sit directly on the 50-yard line.Above all else, bragging rights will be on the line. And since this could be the last time they play, the bragging rights may last forever.Said Mackenzie: “We’ll just have to see what it comes down to on Friday.” Comments Published on March 21, 2013 at 1:08 am Contact Josh: jmhyber@syr.edulast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *