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Life University escaped a tough and hard-nosed Lindenwood 19-15 Friday night in Missouri.
Lindenwood led 15-13 with eight minutes to go, but Life put in enough work on offense to get two Joe Cowley penalties to put the game away. Even so, Lindenwood were attacking in the Life 22 when the Running Eagles were able to hold the ball up in contact to earn a scrum and end the game.
Life scored their lone try through prop Glenn Maricelli, with Cowley adding a conversion and a penalty, while Lindenwood added a try from Jeremy Leber to make it 10-5 Life at halftime.
With points at a premium Life struggled to break through in the second period, but did get one more Cowley penalty gave Life 13 while Lindenwood added another try, this one from center James Poli, and a conversion and penalty by freshman flyhalf Lungi Tshuma.
That made it 15-13.
Life looked to regain the lead with a break down the left sideline. The ball was kicked ahead and rolled to the corner, where Tyrus Baytops was there to poach from the Lindenwood defender. The ball didn't come out, though, and the play certainly could have been called for holding on. Instead, Life kept up the pressure, and eventually earned a penalty for offside about 40 meters out and on the left side. Cowley, with little fanfare, booted the ball over to make it 16-15.
Life came very close to scoring again, using the forwards to bash at the line. Once again there was a penalty, much closer in this time, and once again Cowley hit it to make it 19-15.
With time seemingly up Life failed to make touch on a clearance kick and had to make a series of tackles as Lindenwood worked their way to the Life tryline. But attempts by the Running Eagles to hold the ball up finally worked, and the game was done.
"They put our guys under a lot of pressure and we didn't react very well to it," said Life Head Coach Dan Payne, who saw his squad beat Arkansas State 34-7 last week. "Our set piece didn't execute, but that was possibly from pressure from our opponents. I do think the score flattered us last week and I knew this would be a tough game for us. We really had to claw our way out of trouble."
Lindenwood were led by their forwards, who stood up to the Life pack bravely. Sebastian Kalm was the leader of the pack on the day, and Shenal Dias and Leber at hooker were also impressive, denying Life solid possession.
"We made a few poor decisions, but you can't fault the guys at all," said Lindenwood Head Coach JD Stephenson. "the guys stepped up, and in a way a loss like this was right. The guys showed us and themselves they can compete, they belong, but they also know there's work to do. It just adds fuel to the fire."
Pens: Cowley 4
Tries: Leber, Poli
Also on the Mid-South conference slate this weekend, Davenport at Arkansas State. Here are the standings as of now: