As far back as he can remember, Tom Newberry wanted to be a lacrosse goalie. Not an attackman. Certainly not a baseball player, because it was "too boring." Only goalie would be fulfilling.
Newberry started playing lacrosse in third grade in the Crofton youth program and developed nicely as an attackman, all the while badgering coach Dick Beach about switching to goalie.
"He wouldn't let me," said Newberry, now Arundel High's senior goalie. "He already had a goalie and he thought I was doing OK on attack. But I asked and asked. Finally, he let me."
He was in seventh grade. When he went to college games, he studied the goalies. In neighborhood pickup games, he was invariably the goalie.
"I wanted to do it real badly," Newberry said. "I did OK. It was different, being in the goal. There was more pressure, but I liked it."
Newberry is midway through his second season as a starter on the team that was headed for an undefeated season until stopped by defending state Class 3A-4A champion Annapolis, 8-6, last week. Newberry has allowed only 27 goals and has 93 saves for the No. 14 Wildcats (8-1).
"Tom has the three things you look for in a goalie -- good hand-eye coordination, good footwork and a strong work ethic," said Clint Gosnell, who's in his 19th season as Arundel's coach. "He's a quiet leader. When I talk to the kids about our team, they consider him the superstar. He's a great representative of the school and the team."
Bound for the Naval Academy, Newberry has a 3.4 grade-point average, including a personal-high 3.66 the past quarter. Clearly, he has caught neither spring fever nor senioritis.
Newberry's father Scott, a nuclear engineer, went to the academy. So did his sister Laura's fiancee, Dave Lohr '94. Although he also was recruited by Gettysburg, Salisbury State, Michigan State, Bucknell and Villanova, there was never any real question about where Newberry would go.
"I've always been in the academy atmosphere," Newberry said. "Dave brings his academy friends to the house all the time. The opportunities are so great at
As Arundel piled victory upon victory this season, Gosnell was reminded of his 1988 team that went 16-0 and won the state championship.
"This team had the same kind of look," Gosnell said. "I thought this team could do it, too. But it needed a wake-up call. It got it Wednesday night."
Said Newberry of the defeat: "We were ready to play, but didn't execute. We were sloppy. We had the lead at halftime, but couldn't finish them."
Noting that "we shot ourselves in the foot," Gosnell said the Wildcats have "a rugged road" ahead, their schedule full of 4A opponents while Annapolis "has a non-4A schedule." To tie for the county title, Arundel will have to win its last four games. Even then, Annapolis will be top-seeded in the playoffs.
"We were starting to get recognition," Gosnell said. "We beat Calvert Hall, the first time we had ever beaten an old MSA team. Now we're back to stage one."
Newberry, one of six Arundel captains, said the team discussed the Annapolis loss right after the game.
"We were angry," he said. "But we'll see them again."