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Lindenwood claimed the USA Rugby College 7s National Championship Sunday, beating Davenport 28-10 in the final on Denver University’s campus. The Lions went 6-0 on the weekend, delivering their conference foes their only loss in the 20-minute championship game.
The Lions never trailed in the contest, earning the program’s second national title and first in 7s. The Lions won the 2011 DII National Championship in their maiden season. Lindenwood was led on the weekend, and in the final, by halfback Mikey Bateman.
Sebastian Kalm displayed a rare bit of skill for a back rower, laying down a grubber and re-gathering it for the score. Alex Augspurg had a big carry to put the Lions on the front foot, helping set up the score. Bateman converted, and Lindenwood led 7-0.
The Panthers put together a nice possession and looked poised to level the table, but Knute O’Donnell was called for not releasing in a tackle as he jumped back to his feet and kept playing. The penalty surrendered possession just five meters from pay dirt.
The Lions opted for a lineout, but the Panthers stole the ball at the set piece and shipped it wide to JP Eloff. He beat Augspurg around the corner for a try, but missed the tough conversion – 7-5 to Lindenwood after seven minutes.
Davenport would threaten twice more, but a stingy Lindenwood defense repelled both forays to preserve the lead going into the half.
That defense would translate to points early in the second half, as some diligent work at the breakdown by Kolton Nelson produced a turnover in the attacking end for the Lions, and Bateman carved up the transitioning Davenport defensive line en route to a try. He converted, and the lions led 14-5.
Nelson added another score not long after, putting Anthony Welmers on skates with a hefty dummy inside. Bateman’s conversion gave Lindenwood a 21-5 lead with about six minutes to play.
Davenport responded with a well worked try, going through the phases from sideline to sideline before Mason Baum was in range to cut back and find pay dirt. Eloff’s conversion missed, and though the Panthers had scored just one less try, they trailed by two scores because of missed extra points.
With time melting off the clock, Cameron Reed slammed the door shut with a try off a point-blank penalty. Baum knocked on a penalty play on his own five-meter-line, and the Panthers were called for their own infraction shortly thereafter which allowed Reed to punch through the death knell try. Converted, it put Lindenwood up 28-10, which is where the score would sit at the final whistle.