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Cross-Continental Clash Highlights D1 Elite Games

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Cross-Continental Clash Highlights D1 Elite Games

Life defeated Penn State in the first all-D1 Elite game of the year.

After a year of experimenting with a fall-only 15s schedule the women’s D1 Elite league is back to a fall-spring run, with two extra teams.

Life, Lindenwood, and Penn State are now the eastern half of the league, with BYU, Grand Canyon, and Central Washington in the western side.

This past weekend, Life opened up their account against Penn State, beating the Nittany Lions 71-13.

Ariel Chalmer led the charge for the Running Eagles quick and elusive Matilda Kocaj logged four tries in the game while Adrionna Duncan scored three. Sarah Barsoum added two while Nina Mason popped over eight conversions for 16 points.

It was a tough day overall for Life because their bud broke down on the way to the game. Still, they rolled with and Head Coach Ryszard Chadwick praised his team for their tenacity and focus.

Life controlled the defensive side of the ball and led 26-0 at halftime.

“If we were a little more accurate in our decision-making it could have been more,” said the coach. In the second, he added, “there was an instant impact from the bench as the game opened up allowing us to dominate further. There were slight moments of poor discipline which led to Penn State's scoring, but we finished high by scoring on the last play of the game." 

The travel doesn’t get much easier as Life travels 2,500 miles to play Central Washington in the opener for the Wildcats. These two last faced off in a 15s game in November, 2022 in Annapolis, Md. with Life holding off the Wildcats 22-19 in a game that was always close, but always had Life in the lead. Having graduated some key players, not least of which was Keia Mae Sagapolu, the MA Sorensen Award-winner, they do return Sorensen candidate Tessa Hann, hard-running Kerena Tinoisamoa, and fullback Kai Brandt-Templeton. It’s a physically tough CWU team with good experience playing at their home opener, so Life will be challenged.

Penn State plays NIRA team Queens this weekend while BYU is slated to face off with their alumni. Lindenwood opened their season with a win over Southern Nazarene and a loss to Davenport. This weekend they play Dartmouth in a clash of 2022 champions from the top women’s collegiate competitions. That game will carry no weight in either team’s conference standings, but will show all of us a lot about where the two leagues compare.