Ardrey Kell boys' lacrosse coach Tim Price said goalies usually are a little different from the rest of the team.
"Goalies ride a fine line, where they need to be leaders, they need to be fiery - they're usually a little off in the head to get in the goal," he said. "I mean, really, it takes a little bit of a different mindset."
Whatever it is that sets goalkeepers apart, it runs in the Osborne family. Merrick Osborne, a junior, is starting goalie for the boys' team and his sister, Morinne, a freshman, starts at goalie for the girls' team.
The two look alike, but their similarities go much deeper. Price describes Merrick, 16, as a model student and teammate. He's involved with student government and is on the honor roll. On the field, he's a leader on a team full of seniors.
"He's probably the most positive kid that I've ever coached. Period," said Price, who started the lacrosse program in 2006 when the school opened. "He always has a smile on his face. He's a leader and a talker in the goal, but always positive. I've never heard him get on a defender about missing an assignment or giving up a shot in too close. He's talking to the guys before, during and after the play, bringing them together."
"Tim just basically described (Merrick's) sister," said second-year girls' lacrosse coach Jamie Carter.
"She never doesn't have a smile on her face," said Carter. "She has such a positive influence on the rest of the team. She really does lift the girls. Even being a freshman, she has that influence on all of them."
Morinne, who turns 15 today, also is an honor student and is involved with Ardrey Kell's Dance Marathon.
Both coaches credit the siblings' success to their parents, Martin Osborne and Miriam Robinson. But their parents almost kept Merrick and Morinne from playing the sport.
Merrick started playing lacrosse as a sixth-grader in Portland, Ore., but only because his parents didn't want him to play football. By the time they realized all the hitting that happens in lacrosse, it was too late. Morinne started playing the next year, as a fifth-grader, because she thought it would be fun after watching her brother play.
The Osbornes moved to Charlotte two and a half years ago, the summer before Merrick's freshman year and Morinne's seventh-grade year.
Merrick may have been the first to play the sport, but Morinne was first to get in front of the goal.
"I started out as attack, but I started talking too much, so they brought me back and I just kept on going back and back, and I got into goal," said Morinne.
After seeing his sister play goalie, Merrick wondered what it would be like to be scored on rather than scoring. He didn't like playing in goal at first, but the position grew on him.
Ask the Osbornes what they like about playing goalkeeper, and you start to see that different mindset.
"I like the adrenaline. It's kind of fun," said Morinne. "The fact that something's getting thrown at your face and you have to get in front of it to help everybody, I think that's pretty cool."
Merrick, in his first full season playing varsity, called playing in goal "calming."
"It seems kind of paradoxical: the threat of being hurt is calming. I like it," he said.
"Sometimes the pain feels good," he added.
The siblings said they talk and play lacrosse at home. They're competitive, but they also say they are close. They are constantly pushing each other to be better.
"She'll push me to train. She'll chase me around the house," said Merrick.
"I had him pull me around in a wagon," said Morinne. "That was fun."
They even throw balls at each other and hit each other to simulate balls coming at them during games.
"I do have bruises, but it toughens me up, builds character," said Merrick.
"He hits me in the face a lot," said Morinne.
Carter said she sees Merrick helping Morinne from the sidelines during games. The programs are close, said Price. The boys' team enjoys watching girls' team play, like when the two traveled to Hough High earlier this season.
The Osbornes will keep pushing each other to be better, whether they like it or not.
"I advise her and she advises me, as wrong as she can be sometimes," said Merrick.
Morinne quickly responds: "Don't put that in there, because I'm never wrong."