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D1 Elite: Lions at Life, Wildcats at Lopes

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D1 Elite: Lions at Life, Wildcats at Lopes

The Lindenwood women celebrate after beating Life in February. But this will be a different game on the road.

It’s round 2 for Lindenwood vs Life in the Women’s D1 Elite this week, while the Central Washington Wildcats try to take down the Antelopes of Grand Canyon.

Lindenwood rode a pretty snappy final 30 minutes to put away Life in St. Charles, Mo. February 20, but this return engagement in Marrietta, Ga. promises to be a tighter affair.

Lindenwood Head Coach Billy Nicholas was very pleased with his center pairing of Eti Haungatau and Sativa Tarau-Peehikuri, which worked nicely together, and with Caring De Freitas being the team’s “defensive savior” at the back, the Lions looked pretty good in the backline.

Up front, Nicholas said his props Sam Tancredi and Nina Tuilaepa “had a pretty loud day.” Izzy Manu came off the bench to bring some physicality, which Lindenwood will need going forward.

But it wasn’t all perfect, by any means.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times,” said Nicholas, who also added that young players tend to have trouble adjusting to the referee.

“The fixes aren’t based on personnel,” he said. “We just have room to grow, and the younger players are learning that this level of college player just has a different level of physicality.”

Life, meanwhile, did well to starve Lindenwood of possession in the first half, but against a dangerous attack that can be exhausting—you need to do it for 80 minutes with the same intensity in minute 80—or 85—that you had in minute 1.

Life “Head Coach Rosalind Chou talked about that intensity after the loss to Lindenwood. Just as interested in how her newer players faired in the JV game, Chou spoke of both rosters as one.

“Both matches were intensely physical as we expected. In the JV match, we struggled retaining possession of our own ball on attack and Lindenwood took great advantage of that. We also struggled with our discipline in both matches and getting yellow cards in both matches. Overall it was a tremendous effort by both squads and we have a lot of things to hone in on. We always love the challenge of playing Lindenwood and look forward two great matches at home."

At home will be a difference, and this game promises to be closer.


Meanwhile, a very effective Central Washington goes down to Phoenix coming off an impressive win over BYU. This is the first time that CWU and Grand Canyon will face off. Under second-season Head Coach Lindsey Mahoney, the ‘Lopes are opening their season with the Wildcats. GCU was solid last year, logging wins over UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Arizona State, and the Tempe Rugby Club. They also tied Cal State Northridge and lost to BYU and University of Arizona.

Being one of the few programs to actually have had a season of any length in the spring of 2020 (they played through the winter), GCU may be less susceptible to rust than others.