Among the daily text messages, thrice-a-week Skype sessions and actual once-a-week phone conversations, Jason and Jeremy Noble openly wondered how neat it would be if they met in a national title game.
The twin brothers are one step away from realizing that dream. Jason Noble, a senior defenseman, and Cornell (14-3) will meet seventh-seeded Duke (14-5) in the first of two NCAA tournament semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this Saturday.
Jeremy Noble, a junior midfielder, and fourth-seeded Denver (14-4) will clash with top-seeded Syracuse (15-3) in the second contest.
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“It’s definitely cool that we both get to go to the Final Four,” Jeremy Noble said. “We’re both looking at it though as we’ve got to focus on our games. I don’t think we’re really looking at it as a unique experience of playing each other. I think we’re both focusing on our games at hand first because we can’t look too far into the future.”
The brothers nearly got this experience two years ago. Jeremy Noble and the Pioneers knocked off Johns Hopkins in a quarterfinal at Hofstra to advance to the semifinals, but
Jason Noble and the Big Red fell to eventual national champion Virginia.
“[I]f we would have won, we would have been playing each other in the Final Four,” Jason Noble recalled. “So we’ve sort of had this feeling about both of us going to the Final Four, and it’s awesome that we’re both going to be there.”
Separated by more than 1,600 miles, the brothers are in daily contact. Last week, Jeremy Noble shared information about Ohio State senior attackman Logan Schuss with Jason Noble, and this week, Jason Noble planned to dispense his knowledge on Syracuse’s defense with Jeremy Noble.
Jason Noble summer up their relationship, saying, “He’s my best friend. So we talk all the time.”
If Cornell and Denver can get to the title game, it will not be the first time the brothers will meet as opponents. The two sides tangled on March 20, 2012 and the Big Red got a game-winning goal from former midfielder Chris Langton to escape with a 9-8 overtime decision.
Jason Noble conceded that he was taken aback for a second or two after watching his brother play as a member of an opposing team.
“Last year was a little too difficult,” he said. “I was excited because it was my first time ever playing on a different team. It was sort of weird just going through the week and not really talking too much. It was just a, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ But I’m excited for it though.”
The brothers will not have to worry about that possibility if they cannot help their teams win in the semifinal round. That is perhaps the biggest reason why Jeremy Noble is not allowing himself to wallow in that dream until the pairing is official Saturday night.
“I look forward to playing them if we do get the chance,” Jeremy Noble said. “I think it’d be pretty cool to see a championship matchup of Cornell and Denver, but first, we have to take care of our semifinal games. But it’s definitely cool to have the experience of going with him. Even during the school year, we’ve been talking to each other and supporting one another. If it hopefully works out the way that it does, then we’ll be playing each other.”