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Lindenwood Belleville Bounces Back to Make DII Semis

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Lindenwood Belleville Bounces Back to Make DII Semis

David Barpal photo.

Lindenwood-Belleville’s run to a national DII 7s title started ignominiously, as the Lunx tried virtually everything they could do to throw away the opener against UMass-Lowell.

In fact, they even tried throwing it away, opting to toss the ball into touch to end the game - you are not allowed to do that - leading to a penalty that led to Lowell’s game-tying try.

But Head Coach Pat Clifton wasn’t too worried.

“We hadn’t lost,” he said. “It just meant our margin of error was smaller for Saturday.”

The tough work, added Clifton, was picking up the players after a missed chance. He did that, and that led to a nice 17-0 shutout of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and then a 35-0 defeat of St. Louis University to win the pool.

Admittedly, SLU had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals and rested several starters. That turned out to work in their favor as the Billikens scored late to beat Salisbury to make the semis. The Lynx, meanwhile, took care of Salve Regina 31-5.

“We are starting to play the way we can play,” said Clifton. 

Alex Quinn has been a terror all weekend, making a nuisance of himself in the breakdown and poaching ball.

“I don’t know if there’s a better forward in DII 7s right now,” said Clifton.

Kristian Poletti may have been the one to throw that ball into touch, but he has since been a crucial cog in the L-B machine, winning restarts and lineouts and helping his team dominate in the air.

And with Jacob Gilliam a threat to run from scrumhalf at any moment, defenses are forced to pay attention to every possibility.

Due to a quirk in the scheduling, it appears that Lindenwood-Belleville will play Saint Louis once more in the semis, while Wisconsin-Whitewater and Minnesota-Duluth duke it out in the other. It’s an all-Midwest battle for dominance, and one that might not have happened if the Lynx hadn’t pulled themselves out of a funk on Friday night.