Century downs Beaverton, 14-11
Things finally appear on the right track for the Century boys lacrosse team.
After starting the year losing four of their first five, and six of their opening eight, the Jaguars have won three in a row and are coming together in a way that head coach Robert Beard feels will hopefully lead to further success going forward.
"We're developing," the coach said. "We have five seniors and we keep getting better every game. They're learning to play with each other and trust each other, and me and the players are seeing the results on the field."
In their last game, Century (5-6) defeated Beaverton 14-11 Thursday, April 25, at Beaverton High School. In a game in which the Jaguars led by five early, and by as many as six in the fourth quarter, their execution was in a way overshadowed by a heightened level of friction between the Jags, the Beavers, and the officials trying to keep the two teams at bay. Beginning late in the first half, the two teams were at each other's throats, leading to an inordinate amount of penalties, culminating with a near scuffle late in the fourth quarter as the game appeared in hand.
"It was just kids learning to keep their composure in the face of adversity," Beard said. "We need to be more disciplined, and that was apparent a bit at the end."
The Jaguars wasted little time getting on the board, when Isaac Marron lit the scoreboard just 14 seconds into the game. Beaverton (4-6) answered 36 seconds later when Nate Caster scored on an assist from Ben Mungai. Century took back the lead at the 2:55 mark of the first quarter when senior Preston Strauss scored from the right side, then the Jaguars ran-off four more consecutive goals, two by Kaleb Petrov, another from Sean Slocum, and the last by Strauss off of an assist by Noah Gose 42 seconds into the second quarter to put Century ahead 6-1.
At that point, all things pointed towards a rout, but to their credit the Beavers didn't quit, getting four straight goals, two each from Caster and Mungai, to cut the lead to 6-5 and undoubtedly swing the momentum back in favor of the home team.
"We were able to come out and jump ahead, but relaxed and allowed them to get back into it, which allows them to believe more than they really should," said Beard. "We're learning how to control our emotions and play more disciplined, but that was an example of our attitude getting the best of us. We're still building and learning to trust each other and each other's play."
Century's Logan McAliser put the Jags back ahead by three when he scored twice on pretty spin moves into the middle, and the two teams traded goals to end the half as the Jaguars took a 11-7 lead to the halftime break.
The visiting Jags widened the gap in the third quarter, outscoring Beaverton 3-1 to take 14-8 lead to the fourth.
Beaverton's Patrick Danner cut the lead to 14-9 roughly four minutes into the final quarter, and Mungai and Cooper Graham made it 14-11 with 1:20 remaining in the game, but the Beavers' attack stalled from there and time ticked away on their comeback bid, ultimately leading to Century's 14-11 win.
The Jaguars were led by seniors, Strauss and Petrov, who combined to score six goals. Beard said he's come to expect that from his upperclassmen, especially on a night when they were missing a handful of key pieces due to conflicting school commitments.
"Petrov and Strauss are two of my seniors, and with a couple of our attackers out tonight we really counted on them," the coach said. "So we were missing a little bit of our nucleus, but we were able to get the lead and maintain it, and much of that was tied to those two guys."
Now, with the nonconference schedule winding to a close, Century readies themselves for their upcoming Pacific Conference slate, beginning with a game versus Glencoe Tuesday, April 30, after this paper's print deadline, leading to another home game, May 2, versus Forest Grove, then closing with a game at Liberty before their regular season finale at Hillsboro, May 9. Beard is excited for his team's remaining four games and said his team is ready to put their best foot forward against their local conference rivals.
"We start league play next week and I think we're prepared," the coach said. "We've been keeping an eye on some of our competition, and we'll be ready. I think we're more ready this year than we were last, and we're bonding more as a team and we're ready to compete."
Century's May 2 game against Forest Grove is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at 53rd Avenue Park in Hillsboro.