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The Chicago Lions are through to the National Round of 32 with a tough victory over the Milwaukee Barbarians 35-26 Saturday.
The Barbarians shocked the Lions early with two tries that put them under 14-3. But some snappy goalkicking from flyhalf Nick Viviani helped get them back into the game. Viviani hit an early penalty and then a Brian Rooney try made it 14-10. Another try, and a Viviani conversion and penalty gave the Lions a slim 20-14 lead at halftime.
The Lions scored early in the second period, and then Milwaukee answered to make it 25-21. A Viviani penalty nudged his side further ahead, and then a key intercept try from Chicago put them 35-21 ahead. Milwaukee scored late, but it was not enough.
The Lions join their crosstown rivals the Chicago Griffins in the final four in the Midwest, which will be contested in the spring.
The top four, whether they win or lose the Midwest final four, will move on to play crossover matches with the South. The key goal there is to not finish fourth, and garner an away fixture with Life University.