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Life Makes a Statement with Comeback Win

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Life Makes a Statement with Comeback Win

Life defeated Lindenwood in a top-10 D1A clash over the weekend, taking the Lions down 31-20 thanks in part to two tries from Shaun Matthysen.

The result moves to Life to 6-1 with their only loss being a 20-14 decision dropped to #1 Navy (who also won this weekend). For Lindenwood this is their second loss in a row after being edged 13-7 by Arkansas State last week. 

Lindenwood is now 11-2 overall in collegiate games, and 5-2 in D1A matches.

Lindenwood took a 3-0 lead eight minutes in after Byron Forword slotted penalty goal, but Life answered with a try five minutes later with Jeron Pantor setting up Karch Hoffman in the corner. That put Life up 7-3 with a well-taken conversion by Bradley Crane. Lindenwood scrumhalf Jeremy Zwick ran a good support line to take an inside pass and put Lindenwood ahead 10-7 midway through the first half.

Back came the Running Eagles with Logan Ballinger going over and then Lindenwood regained the lead once again with a Forword penalty. So the lead changed hands five times in the first half alone.

However after the break Lindenwood extended their lead. Stephin Alberts sent a kick over the Life defense for Bautista Nasta to chase down. Nasta pushed off a defender and scored to make it, with Forword’s kick, 20-12 for Lindenwood.

Life inched closer with a try to make it 20-17 after a penalty, lineout, and maul. Matthyson, on as an impact sub in the front row, took the rock over. 

It remained there until about 15 minutes to go. That was when Philani Simamane cut right through a gap near a ruck about 40 meters out and sped in to score the try that would give Life a lead they would never relinquish. Bradley Crane converted and it was 24-20. 

Matthysen scored his second when he bounced off the back of a maul and dove over. Nahuel Wingord converted from the tough angle to make it 31-20, and with a Lindenwood player in the sin bin, that’s how it ended.

"Failure in rugby is natural,” said Lindenwood’s Alberts. “So we'll learn from this game as we do from all of our other short comings and continue to build on what we have laid out for the rest of season. This isn't the end; it's far from it, and we'll continue to fight and work even harder to make sure it doesn't happen again, because that's what a Lindenwood Lion does."

This was a big result for Life, though.

"We are really pleased with the efforts of our men, especially the second-half performance,” said Life Director of Rugby Blake Bradford. “Lindenwood is a big rival and as a group we committed early in the week to putting out a performance we can be proud of. I thought we handled the windy conditions well and adapted well to the pressure Lindenwood put on us. Throughout the game there were glimpses of the team we can be when we are at our best, and we look forward to building on today's performance and result."

Next week Life hosts Arkansas State while Lindenwood will welcome Davenport.