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Lindenwood Clinches Mid-South

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Lindenwood Clinches Mid-South

Lindenwood got that bonus point in the first half. Todd Lunow photo.

Lindenwood clinched their first ever Mid-South rugby title by beating Davenport 43-6 at home over the weekend.

The match was controlled by the Lions from the opening kickoff. Lindenwood scored seven tries by seven different players earning them the win and the needed bonus point to win the conference. 

The Lions are now 5-0 with one game to go but they lead Life University by six points in the standings, meaning that even if Life beats Lindenwood this coming weekend Lindenwood cannot be caught.

Mid-South Standings W L T PF PA PD BT BL PTS
Lindenwood 5 0 0 152 42 110 3 0 23
Life 4 1 0 122 73 49 1 0 17
Arkansas State 0 4 0 28 91 -63 0 1 1
Davenport 0 4 0 44 140 -96 0 1 1

Lindenwood opened the match with the mindset of needing to score four tries to get that bonus-point victory. They were aggressive from the opening kickoff, taking the ball down the field to put Kaleb O’Donoghue over off a driving maul to go up 5-0. 

Immediately on the next possession the Lions went back to playing out of their own territory and refused to give the Panthers much opportunity on attack. After again covering the distance of the pitch, Cian Darling was able to dot down the Lions second try, and Evan Williams split the posts to give Lindenwood a 12-0 lead after 10 minutes. 

Davenport was able to steal a few possessions, but the Lion defense stopped any go-forward movement in the opposition attack. Clarence Ekoume-Bienes and Tyren Al-Jiboori lead the way on defense and continually pushed the Panthers back.  

However, Davenport was able to get on the board when they hit their first of two penalty kicks of the game to cut the lead 12-3. 

Lindenwood replied with Alejandro Martinez-Tapia receiving a well-timed offload and showing his footwork to get by the defense to put in a 40-meter run for a try to give the home team a 17-3 lead. 

After another Davenport penalty kick made it 17-6, Lindenwood got that coveeted four try. From a scrum five meters from the Davenport line, props Gabriel Kettering and Samuel Buckley put on a shove and Evan Conlon picked the ball off the back of the scrum and scored. Lindenwood 24 Davenport 6.

In the second half captain Marnus Spangenberg scored off another Lion maul to extend the lead to 29-6.  The home team worked back to Davenport territory with numerous punishing runs before Alejo Gallego Boniello picked the ball and scored uncontested.

Then reserve props Beorn Graham and Blake Knight led a scrum drive that set up No. 8 Ekoume-Bienes, who only needed to fall on the ball. Williams converted and it was 43-6.

“The mindset for the match was made clear by the coaching staff all week for what we needed to accomplish to win the conference," said Lindenwood captain Marnus Spangenberg. "We not only reached our goal early, but we also excelled at the game plan for the full 80 minutes of the match which was amazing to see.” 

“My greatest pride today was that we were able to repeat a great defensive performance by not conceding any tries," added Ekoume-Bienes. "It’s an aspect of the game that we keep working on during the week and it’s really reassuring to see that we can apply it on game day, especially now looking into the future as some big matches await us.” 

Next up Lindenwood plays Life, but the conference championship means a guaranteed home playoff game and most likely a bye to the quarterfinals.

More Rugby at Lindenwood

In a three-round 7s series, Lindenwood hosted the University of Missouri which saw Lindenwood come out on top 17-5, 48-0 and 37-10. Daniel Komorowski scored numerous long tries in the first match, and Kyle Liebenberg was electric off the edge scoring twice and setting up another try in second match.