A shorthanded Jaguars squad competes nicely in 11-5 loss to Metro's Skyhawks.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Century's Izzy Heely fights off a Southridge defender during the Jaguars' game against the Skyhawks Thursday, March 22, at Southridge High School."It's not whether you win or lose, but rather how you play the game."

It's a quote made famous by sports writing icon Grantland Rice. It was certainly applicable in Century's lacrosse loss to Southridge on Thursday, March 22.

The Jaguars dropped the nonconference game to the Skyhawks 11-5 at Southridge High School, but despite the loss to the highly respected Metro foe, Century head coach Rob Beard was proud of his team and how they played, despite doing so without a handful of key players.

"No excuses, but we were missing some key guys tonight," said Beard. "So to come out here and see the freshmen and sophomores play without the senior leadership … that was impressive to me."

Century was without starters in the attack, midfield and defense positions. Attacker Alex Brewer, midfielder Nick Fasciana and defenseman Hunter Brown were absent due to a conflicting school activity. That absence was felt, as the Jaguars fell behind early and the Skyhawks built a 7-1 halftime lead. But Beard's team battled, and for that, he praised his squad and left feeling good in spite of the defeat.

"The kids stepped up," Beard said. "Obviously, falling behind in that first half wasn't ideal, but if you look at the second half, it was better, and the team really performed and stepped up. It's a strong team that in the past, we probably would've really struggled against, but tonight, I feel like we made some real positive strides."

Southridge struck first, getting the game's first goal 4:13 into the first quarter. But the Jaguars answered with a tying goal just over two minutes later, when Tanner Morris ran free up the left side and netted the equalizer with 5:37 left in the first. The Skyhawks scored twice more before the end of the quarter, including a third goal as time expired to give them a 3-1 lead after one.

It was all Southridge in the second, as they got four goals to Century's none to take a 7-1 lead to the half and it appeared the rout was on. But the Jaguars got a goal just more than three minutes into the third quarter, then after a late third-quarter Skyhawk goal, Century got two early goals to start the fourth, the last of which by Taylor Seggerman pulled the team within 8-4 and infused a little life into the undermanned Jags.

"We started out a little behind there, but Southridge is a very formidable opponent," said Beard. "Against any of the Metro teams, be it Southridge, Sunset or Jesuit, it's tough. This is actually the first time we've faced a Metro team since I've been here, and it's great experience."

The Skyhawks scored three more goals to Century's one, with Seggerman getting his second of the game with 35- econds remaining.

Despite the loss, Beard — who is in his second year as the Century coach — is excited for the upcoming season and sees his team as much improved.

"We've definitely improved over last year and hope to improve further this year," said the coach. "We only lost three seniors from last year's team, and we've got the majority of our core back, with Seggerman, Morris, Brown, and attacker Izzy Heely, all of which were all-league honorees last season."

Also, the Jaguars moved into the Oregon High School Lacrosse Association's Pacific Conference this season, with Liberty, Hillsboro, Forest Grove and rising power Glencoe. And while Beard knows that Glencoe's superior experience and depth puts them at a disadvantage against the Tide, he's anxious to see how this year's Jags hold up against the league's — and some of the state's — very best.

"The year before I got here they had zero wins, last year we had five, and this year we're hoping to have at least 10," Beard said. "Now it's up to us to go out and do it."

Century won't play over spring brea but will resume action Tuesday, April 3, at North Eugene.

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