Though his primary goal of winning a national championship in his final season at Cornell eluded him, Rob Pannell of Smithtown West grabbed a second grand consolation prize. He won the Tewaaraton Award as college lacrosse's top player Thursday night at a ceremony in Washington.
In the NCAA Tournament semifinals Saturday, Pannell, a senior attack who returned to Cornell for a fifth year after missing all but two games last season with a broken foot, had five goals and two assists to surpass Matt Danowski (Farmingdale, Duke) and become the NCAA's career scoring leader. Pannell had 354 points, one more than Duke assistant coach Danowski, who won the Tewaaraton in 2007.
"The record is what it is. I'd give up everything I've achieved individually to get a chance to play on Monday,'' Pannell said, repeatedly choking up in a postgame news conference at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, where Cornell lost to eventual national champion Duke, 16-14.
The other 2013 finalists were North Carolina attack Marcus Holman, Syracuse midfielder JoJo Marasco, Princeton midfielder Tom Schreiber (St. Anthony's) and Albany attack Lyle Thompson. Another Long Island player from Cornell who lost in the Final Four, Max Seibald of Hewlett, won the Tewaaraton in 2009.
Pannell, a four-time All-American, had 47 goals and 55 assists for 102 points, second in the country, and is Cornell's career leader in points and assists. He tied and broke Danowski's record with unassisted goals 33 seconds apart in the fourth quarter as Cornell cut a 14-6 deficit to 15-14.
"You're talking about one of the greatest leaders that our program has ever seen,'' Cornell coach Ben DeLuca said. "One of the most loyal young men, one of the hardest workers, one of the most complete players in the game. He was never satisfied with where he was. He always continued to push himself. He raised the bar, not only for himself but for his teammates. Rob leaves Cornell lacrosse better than he found it. His legacy will be lasting and permanent.''
Pannell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft by the Lizards, will make his pro lacrosse debut at 7:30 Friday night at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium when the Lizards host the Charlotte Hounds.