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Lindenwood Women Dominant in Conference

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Lindenwood Women Dominant in Conference

Lindenwood women's team capped off their Illinois Collegiate Women's Rugby Conference Championship with an 84-0 victory over Northern Illinois University Saturday to win the league.

Lindenwood came into the contest as the top seed, undefeated in conference play, and had beaten the Huskies in an earlier matchup 113-7, but that was at the beginning of the season in September. Northern Illinois had developed into a much different team in late October, having won three straight conference games to earn the number two seed.

The Huskies were addressee and they pressured the Lady Lions with a smart kicking game. But Lindenwood was patient and weathered the early storm. Then they started moving the ball and sprang Ariana Lewis for a try. Taylor Bohlender extended her scoring streak later in the half and the Lady Lions were ahead 10-0. Lewis added another try and Davon Thomas scored to extend the advantage to 20-0, and by halftime Lindenwood was up 35-0.

Despite the lopsided scoreboard, Northern Illinois showed a much improved defense, but the Lady Lions made some adjustments in the second half and pulled away. The forward pack continued to dominate with Collegiate All-Americans Morgan Crowell and Kim Shepard leading the way. Precision passing and some hard tackles in the backline by Georgia Page led to another 49 points for Lindenwood and the conference championship.

Head coach Billy Nicholas was understandably happy with his team's performance.

"It's a testament to the girl's defense that they have four shutouts in a row," he said. "To take the conference in this fashion with a full roster of players getting time is remarkable and shows the type of culture we've developed. We're excited about a tough two weeks of preparation before the national playoffs, and know we'll have to prepare ourselves for the opportunity, but right now, we have something to celebrate with a team win and conference championship."

The Lady Lions completed an impressive season in the Illinois Collegiate Women's Rugby Conference, going undefeated at 6-0, outscoring their opponents 538-7, and finishing with four straight shutouts.

Overall, Lindenwood has a record of 10-2 as the team prepares for the USA Rugby Regional Playoffs November 15-16.