Life blanks Davenport to end regular season

D1A Rugby: Life blanks Davenport to end regular season
Photo Credit: Steve Zomberg

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A heavy snowstorm couldn’t slow Life’s march through the Mid-South Conference. The Running Eagles went to Davenport University April 2 and scored an impressive 34 points on a snow-covered pitch while blanking the Panthers to end their regular season in quality fashion.

It didn’t take long before Life sent sophomore eight man Maciu Koroi over for the match’s first try, which Blane Mcllroy converted. Extended lengths of pressure eventually produced a penalty from Mcllroy and outside center Zander Van Schalkwyk’s third conference try of the season in the 20th minute. Mcllroy’s successful conversion put the Running Eagles up, 17-0, where the score would remain until the second half.

Surprisingly, it was the boys from Georgia that seemed to adjust to the blanket of snow better than Davenport.

“You just survive a game like that,” said Life Head Coach Scott Lawrence. “Bring everyone a little closer together, minimize the touches per phase, and effectively exit your end.”

In the second half, the Running Eagles doubled their first half output with another penalty from the boot of Mcllroy and two converted tries – this time by scrum half Kevin Lynch and his replacement, Marcus Walsh.

Life’s Mid-South title was already in the books after last week’s win over Lindenwood. Still, the conference champions believe its best rugby is ahead of them – even after beating No. 7 Davenport, 34-0.

“The type of rugby we set out to play hasn’t happened yet,” Lawrence said. “Let’s see if we can put it together.”

In terms of team goals, the Running Eagles are having their best season to date – academically.

“The only team result we set a definitive goal on is team GPA, the rest is process focused,” said Lawrence. “We had the highest average GPA to day from our Men’s Rugby program. Our Women’s program continues to lead the way in this area, as well.”

An undefeated record and a Canterbury D1A No. 1 ranking hava earned Life an opening round bye in the D1A Playoffs. The Running Eagles’ next time out will be in the Quarterfinals where they will host the winner between Davenport and San Diego State.

For the Panthers, they will complete their regular season April 9 when Lindenwood comes to town. The last time the two sides met, a late charge by the Lions overtook Davenport in the 2016 Charles Labry Memorial Match. Lindenwood will surely provide the Panthers with a difficult test ahead of its April 16 D1A Playoff match against the 11th-ranked Aztecs.