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KENNESAW, Ga. – For a Long Island native and a longtime Lizards fan, Cornell 2013 graduate and former Cornell lacrosse star Rob Pannell saw his childhood dream come true this weekend as he helped the New York Lizards to its first Major League Lacrosse Championship since 2003.
The Lizards defeated the Rochester Rattlers, 15-12, in front of 8,764 fans at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.
“Growing up as a Lizards fan it was always a dream of mine to play for them one day,” said Pannell. “With the way my lacrosse career went over the years, many times it seemed it wouldn’t happen. To now win my first-ever championship, and to do so with the Lizards, is a dream come true and makes it all the more special. We have a special group of guys who played with one thing in mind this season, and that was a championship. It’s great to know that all the hard work over this season and over the years has paid off and we are the last team standing.”
Pannell finished the game with four goals and one assist, and was instrumental in New York’s comeback after getting off to a slow start against the Rattlers.
The Lizards trailed 7-3 early in the second quarter, but four unanswered goals, including back-to-back tallies by Pannell tied the contest at 7-7. Rochester closed the second quarter with a goal to take the 8-7 halftime lead, but Pannell answered early in the third to knot the game again at 8-8. Rochester used a run to regain an 11-9 lead, but New York scored three unanswered, capped by a Pannell goal to make it a 12-12 contest.
The Lizards went on to score the final three goals of the game, a span that included an assist from Pannell, to take the 15-12 victory.
Background: At Cornell, Pannell was named the USILA’s Lt. Raymond Enners Award winner as the Division I national player of the year and repeated as the Jack Turnbull Award winner as the Division I national attackman of the year. He is just the 11th repeat winner in the 65-year history of the Turnbull Award and is the first-ever Cornellian to win the award twice in his career.
A 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy finalist and a nominee for a 2011 ESPY in the category of Best Male Collegiate Athlete, Pannell earned his second consecutive first-team All-America honor and his second straight Ivy League Player of the Year award. He was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the Ivy League tournament and was named the Ivy League Player of the Week on four occasions.
Pannell led the nation in points per game (5.24), while ranking second overall in assists per game (2.76), and ninth overall in goals per game (2.47). He became the first Big Red player since 2001 to lead Cornell in points, goals and assists in the same season.
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