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WIIL South Comes Down to Friday Night

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WIIL South Comes Down to Friday Night

The Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx are 5-0 in the WIIL South.

So the WIIL South comes down to Friday night. The Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx, a team with no history until this year, play host to University of Northern Iowa, a team that has been around the DII landscape for a while and boasts among their alumni one of the USA’s greatest players, Paul Emerick.

Lindenwood-Belleville is varsity, with the program begun after the success of the Lindenwood University program in St. Charles, Mo. Pat Clifton, who worked with the editor of this website as a journalist for several years, is the head coach, and he has put together a team almost entirely of freshmen, and marshaled them to a 5-0 record.

Nick O’Brien has been an attacking present at loose forward, and the Lynx have gotten good games from Khalil Hatley, and Jacob Gilliam, but this game will be a sterner test than they’ve encountered the last couple of weeks. 

And while Clifton has recruited some good rugby players, and has brought in former BYU captain and USA flanker Kyle Sumsion as a graduate assistant, the biggest difference, he says, is that his players have a responsibility to be at training that club players don’t always feel. That gives him more time to bring the team together, work on the game plan, and work on fitness.

It takes a lot of tradition and strong club leadership to keep a club together every year. Each season we see good teams like UW-Stout hit trouble because of the absence of only a few players. Northern Iowa has been a contender in college rugby for years, following a tradition built around players who aren’t in it just for the jersey.


See Clifton talk about Lindenwood-Belleville Rugby with the local on-campus sports show here:


This is a clash between the #10 and #11 DII programs in the country. Both are keenly aware that WIIL North leader Wisconsin-Whitewater is ranked #2 and finished 2nd in the country last year.