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On the back of a strong first half, Life University defeated Lindenwood 25-21 in Marietta Ga., Saturday. The Running Eagles jumped out to a 22-0 halftime lead and withstood a late charge from Lindenwood to earn the victory.
Traveling to Georgia, Lindenwood had a slow start to the game and Life punished the Lions. “You can’t come out of the blocks and not start firing against a team like Life in the first 10 minutes,” Lindenwood coach JD Stephenson told Rugby Today.
Life opened the scoring with a try, and after a penalty, led 8-0 at the 23-minute mark. The game remained this way until the final minutes of the first half when things unraveled for Lindenwood. The Running Eagles added a try with two minutes to go in the first stanza, and off the resulting kickoff, won the ball and broke through for a try at the halftime whistle.
“We were kind of weathering the storm, trying to make it tough and see out the half. Life is a great side and they pounced,” Stephenson said of his side’s late turnovers in the first half.
For Life, it was a very strong first, half, one that was much improved from last week’s match against Davenport.
“It was very exciting to watch, a total different game from last week against Davenport from our boys,” said Life coach Tui Osborne. “The attitude was up the aggression was up and we fixed a lot of things we did in training.”
Lindenwood responded nicely in the second half, controlling possession and dominating much of the run of play. The Lions got on the board in the 55th minute thanks to some hard running, and with the conversion, trailed 22-7. Lindenwood cut the lead to eight with a try several minutes later, but a penalty from Life stemmed the momentum and left the game at 25-14.
“I think we just really nullified our unforced errors,” Stephenson said of the second half. “We retained ball, we were confident in attack… and towards the end really made a match of it.”
Osborne added, “In the second half we let off, that is something we need to work on. Lindenwood is a great team and they will keep playing until they get results.”
The Lions pressed the Running Eagles in the final 15 minutes, sustaining pressure inside the Life 22 meter line. Life held up a player in the goal area but the resulting scrum yielded a score for the visitors. Coming in the 78th minute, however, Lindenwood was unable to complete the comeback and fell 25-21 to their Mid-South rival.
The win, Life's second by a try or less, makes the Running Eagles 2-0 in conference play. Lindenwood and Davenport are both 0-1 with bonus points in their losses to Life.