BOULDER, Colo. – Lindenwood University will surely be fired up for a rematch against Life after falling to the Running Eagles, 45-15, to open the Mid-South season.
The 30-point loss hasn’t sat well with the team, but there is more on its mind than avenging the loss. A Running Eagles win Mach 19 at the Lions’ Hunter Stadium would clinch another conference championship for the newly No.1-ranked team in the Canterbury D1A Top 20.
“One team KPI (key performance indicator) for our program is to clinch the Mid-South, and it’s something in which we will work for until the 80th-minute on Saturday to achieve,” said Lindenwood Head Coach JD Stephenson.
In order to keep themselves in the Mid-South race, the Lions will need to tidy-up a few areas of their game – especially limiting turnovers and missed tackles. One piece of Lindenwood’s game that won’t need polishing is its confidence.
“You have to be confident going into any match or you’ve loss before the kickoff,” Stephenson said. “But the test of character has been how the players have reacted after the defeat.”
The reaction to its Feb. 27 loss to Life was a hard-fought, 18-12, win over Davenport in the third annual Charles Labry Memorial Match, in which the Lions needed two late tries to stave off a determined Davenport squad.
“I think Davenport is a good example of a side that is just hitting their stride, and much like Davenport, I’m a believer that our best rugby is still ahead of us.”
In Life’s camp, it seems to be business of usual – with some added offense. Since downing Lindenwood, the Running Eagles outmatched Davenport, 58-10, and Arkansas State, 32-15. After playing just two varsity matches heading into February, the team is feeding off the opportunity to routinely play high-level competition, and there have been rewards off the pitch as well.
“As you move further into the season, the professionalism of repeated execution takes root,” explained Life Head Coach Scott Lawrence. “We try our best to keep it simple, keep it enjoyable, and not get too wrapped up in over-analysis or complex strategies. The men are responding well in the classroom, and enjoying themselves around the field house.”
Saturday’s fixture between No. 1 Life and No. 3 Lindenwood is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. CT kickoff, and will be broadcasted live by Gift-Time Rugby Network. The live stream can be found on Gift-Time’s website.