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Photo credit: Jack Megaw

CHESTER, Pa. — In a rematch of last year’s Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship Women’s title game, Life used a powerful second half to beat Lindenwood 17-12 Sunday at Talen Energy Stadium and claim its second consecutive CRC championship.

“It’s always really great to beat (Lindenwood) because they beat us in 7s nationals,” Life captain Darian Lovelace said. “So, they were now our greatest competition. Playing against Lindenwood is always going to be a really physical, really tough match. So, we crave to have those matches.”

Lindenwood, which won the USA Rugby 7s national championship this season, was yellow-carded early in the second half when it maintained a 7-0 lead after Caring de Freitas dashed into the left corner of the try zone.

“Anytime that you have a yellow, it’s all about how mentally strong you are,” Lovelace said of her team capitalizing on the Lindenwood yellow card. “Of turning it on and playing rugby smart rather than playing really physical, like adrenaline-rushed rugby.”

Life’s first try of the game came at the 5:47 mark of the second half and Christina Swift and Lovelace both added tries within the next two minutes to put the Runnings Eagles up, 17-7.

Lindenwood responded with a long try from Kendal McCracken to make the score 17-12, but the referee blew the final whistle before the Lady Lions could kickoff again.

“We talk about being a second-half team and being mentally strong and playing til the end,” Life coach Rosalind Chou said. “So that’s something we’ll even practice in practice in different scenarios. Just to get them ready for these moments.”

In the first women's semifinal, between Dartmouth and Life, the Running Eagles’ Alex Sedrick was a nuisance for the Big Green: the freshman from Utah scored twice in Life’s 28-5 win.

Senior Kaitlyn Broughton also had two tries for Life, including the opening score.  

Immediately following Life’s win, Lindenwood notched a tight 20-14 victory over Penn State in the other women's semifinal.

Natalie Kosko opened the scoring with a breakaway try for the Lady Lions, the first of two she scored in the game. Nika Paogofie-Buyten also scored for Lindenwood. 

With time expiring and Penn State trailing by six, the Nittany Lions rolled into Lindenwood territory, but the ball was spilled forward at a breakdown and the final whistle was blown.