Kentucky handed Lindenwood-Belleville only their second loss of the season after a pulsating 17-14 encounter in which defenses were definitely on show.

The game opened with both teams vying for position and openings to attack being at a premium because of the strong defense both clubs were displaying. Kentucky struck firt in the 15th minute after a nice move saw the ball move to the right edge and Ty Lewis was able to squeeze in at the corner for a 5-0 lead.

The Wildcats doubled their lead in the 29th minute when Tobias Watkins finished off another fine display of ball movement across the backline, this time on the left wing to beat his counterpart to the line and make the score 10-0.

Tobias Watkins crosses the line in the corner to double the Wildcats’ advantage in the first half. (Photo by Dave Redden)

Lindenwood-Belleville stuck to their game plan and answered with a try of their own four minutes later to bring the score to 10-7 going into the halftime break.

Both teams came out to start the second half fired up and probably knew how important the next score could be. Brendon Esson, who had been having an off day with the boot, found an opening in the Lynx defense in the 61st minute and pushed through to score under the sticks. He added the conversion to take the advantage out to 17-10.

Brendon Esson opens up the Lindenwood-Belleville defense to score what would turn out to be the game winning try. (Photo by Dave Redden)

Lindenwood-Belleville hit back with a quick score of their own within four minutes to tighten the score at 17-14 with 15 minutes to play but the Wildcats’ defense held firm for a vaunted mon-conference victory.

Head coach, Gary Anderson was more than pleased with his team’s response after taking a loss at Kennesaw State the last time out. “I think the loss to Kennesaw State was the best thing that happened to us this season,” Anderson said. “The players and the coaches had become complacent and KSU reminded us that if you want to be great you have to grind everyday. The boys were laser focused the last two weeks and it showed in the way we played defense at the end of the game to get the win.”

In the second game of a double-header day Kentucky overcame a much improved Middle Tennessee State team. Tries from Jayden Elwood (2), Dailen Ward and Jaydon Hudson along with a conversion and penalty from the boot of Kaiden Fothergill saw the Wildcats come from behind to get the win by a 25-24 scoreline.

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