Pannell's Record-Setting Year Warns #BestOfLax
Tewaaraton Award winner and MLL Rookie of the Year Rob Pannell is our choice for Best of Lacrosse Men's Player for 2013. (Lee Weissman)
Rob Pannell made the most of his fifth year at Cornell.
He question-mark dodged and pulled the strings on opposing defenses to the tune of 47 goals and 55 assists in 2013. In his final collegiate game, Pannell passed Matt Danowski as the NCAA's all-time leading scorer (354 points). Then he won the Tewaaraton Award, the sport's highest individual honor. His 102 points this season were the most ever by a winner.
All this after coming back from surgery on a broken foot that cost him most of 2012. He was uncertain how his body would respond.
"I was worried I was going to break it again," Pannell said, "but once I got past the first few games, once I had some confidence in it, it went from there."
Pannell's Batman-and-Robin connection with senior attackman Steve Mock ripped apart even the most prepared defenses. Mock, like Pannell, is a Long Islander but has Canadian-like finishing ability, and Pannell was more than happy to feed him the ball. Pannell ranked third in Division I in assists per game (3.06), while Mock led the nation with 60 goals.
Cornell fell short of its first NCAA championship since 1978, but Pannell finished his collegiate career as one of the best players to ever suit up. He went down swinging in the 16-14 semifinal loss to Duke, passing Danowski — now an assistant for the Blue Devils — for the NCAA points lead during an 8-1 second-half spurt that brought Cornell within one. Pannell finished the game with 20 shots, five goals and two assists.
Pannell went on to earn not only the Tewaaraton Award, but also MLL Rookie of the Year honors with the New York Lizards. His 42 points were second-most by an MLL rookie in the league's 13-year history.
A fellow upstarter edged Pannell in the fan voting, as Evans parlayed a huge senior year at Jamesville-Dewitt into inheriting the fabled No. 22 at Syracuse University starting this spring as a freshman. Lyle Thompson, the first native American finalist for the Tewaaraton also finished strong, just behind Pannell for second, followed by MLL MVP Kevin Crowley and Six Nations Mann Cup hero Cody Jamieson.
Jordan Evans, Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.) 35%
Rob Pannell, Cornell/New York Lizards 26%
Lyle Thompson, Albany 24%
Kevin Crowley, Hamilton Nationals 7%
Cody Jamieson, Rochester/Hamilton/Six Nations 8%