Kevin Anderson needed two sports to satisfy his competitive urges. One of Kevin Farrington's final exams yesterday was in Low Intensity Conflict, and in 12 days he'll be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He wants a career in the Infantry.
Imagine the battle the two had for playing time five years ago, when they shared the goalkeeper duties for Loyola High, maybe the best team never to win a Maryland Scholastic Association title. The stakes will be higher tomorrow (8 p.m.), when Loyola and Anderson take on Navy and Farrington at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the first round of the NCAA lacrosse tournament.
The winner will advance to the NCAA quarterfinals at defending NCAA champion Princeton May 22.
Seventh-seeded Navy (8-3) and 10th-seeded Loyola (7-4) haven't played for real in 50 years, but Anderson and Farrington were too familiar in 1988. Both claim that the fight for playing time didn't create a strain.
"It was a tough position to be in [at Loyola High in 1988], but there was never any personal animosity between us," said Farrington, a second-team All-American last season.
"If you're running second midfield, you're still going to play," said Anderson, who became a full-time midfielder last season. "A goalie has to want to start and play the whole way every game, or he isn't going to be any good. It was tough on both us."
"Playing time wasn't just a problem in the goal," Farrington said, "because we were loaded everywhere else, too."
Besides Anderson, the Loyola High Class of 1988 had Jeff Wills (Johns Hopkins) and John Blatchley (Towson State) on attack, Jim Buczek (North Carolina) on midfield and George Glyphis (Virginia) on defense. Farrington's Class of 1989 included defenseman Chuck Breschi (North Carolina) and midfielder John Busse (Cornell). The sophomores in 1988 included defenseman Craig Ronald (Virginia) and midfielder Gregg Langhoff (North Carolina).
Anderson was taking his turn when the Dons had a perfect season stopped by Boys' Latin in the A Conference championship game, and it was three years before he would play in the goal again. He was red-shirted in 1989 and shifted to midfield in 1990, but was an emergency goalie in 1991, starting five games and making 21 saves in an 11-9 loss to unbeaten North Carolina in the NCAA semifinals.
With the arrival of Tim McGeeney last year, Anderson moved back to the midfield. He scored 827 career points as a basketball guard/forward from 1988-1992, and is prospering in the first year that he's been able to devote fully to lacrosse. His 17 goals are second on the team to Kevin Beach's 37, and he's third in ground balls.
"I enjoyed the pressure when I was in the goal, but I don't miss it, because it's insane to be a goalie," Anderson said. "This is the first year I've been able to concentrate on lacrosse, and being here for fall practice and not being with basketball into March has made a difference in my game."
Farrington is allowing 8.7 goals and averaging 14.8 saves per game, and he's 27 saves shy of becoming the Mids' career leader.
"Coach [Bryan Matthews] has said it's time for me to get going," Farrington said.
Farrington is a three-year starter, but he's tried to forget 1991. Navy had a losing record, and as Farrington said, "5-6 in any sport is not taken well here. That was a nightmare season."
Now the Mids can finish with the best record in Matthews' 11 years.
"Kevin makes all of the players in front of him more confident," Matthews said.
"You don't have to try to keep people from shooting with him back there. He's always had great athletic ability and quickness, and he's worked on making himself a good position goalie. That's what separates the consistent goalies from the hot and cold ones."