Life University punched its ticket to the D1A Rugby Semifinals Saturday afternoon after topping Lindenwood by a final of 37-20 on its home pitch. The Running Eagles’ win sets up a date with No. 3 BYU next week.
It was the third matchup between the Mid-South rivals this spring, with the Running Eagles winning each of the previous two fixtures, as well as remaining undefeated against the Lions in four straight seasons.
The Running Eagles were first on the board thanks to a try by Harley Wheeler in the 5th minute. Brian Muntanga got over the line moments later to stretch the early lead to 12-0. Lindenwood responded with a penalty kick in the 10th minute, but a yellow card in the 15th set up an eventual try by Life deep in Lions territory. The Lions would answer with a penalty kick once again late in the half to make it 19-6. Life, however, would capitalize one more time after Wheeler’s forced turnover set up a try by senior Alex MacDonald to put the Running Eagles up 26-6 at the break.
Freshman Jamie Berrisford dotted down for Life early in the second half to push the lead to 31-6. Lindenwood was once again swift to bounce back, this time with the its first try of the day courtesy of hooker Jeremy Leber. The teams would exchange possessions before Life tacked on a penalty kick. Down 34-13, the Lions found the end zone once again with a try and conversion by fly half Nick Feakes to pull the deficit to 34-20 in the 73rd minute. But with time against them, it was a gap Lindenwood could not overcome. A final penalty kick by Life in the last moments made an early celebration in Marietta.
Life will host No. 3 BYU next weekend. The Cougars earned their semifinal appearance with a convincing 44-17 win over Indiana. The winner of that matchup will go on to the D1A National Championship May 6 at Saint Mary’s Stadium. Kick off for the championship is slated for 4 p.m. PT and can be seen live on CBS Sports.