It wasn’t the trip Smithtown native Rob Pannell hoped for. Cornell, seeded second in this year’s NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament, came to Long Island for their quarterfinal match-up against seventh-seeded Virginia and Pannell’s junior season came to an end.
After opening the contest with a 4-1 lead, including a goal from Pannell to start the run, Virginia scored nine unanswered goals, including seven in the second quarter and won, 13-9, at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
“We couldn’t get a run going,” said Pannell, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist as the best player in college lacrosse. “We couldn’t get into any flow and that was to Virginia’s credit. It’s been a great year for Cornell lacrosse.”
Pannell, who scored 42 goals this season, finished with three against Virginia, who advances to the NCAA semifinals next week in Baltimore.
With the win, Virginia coach and Long Island native Dom Starsia earned career victory No. 327, making him the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I lacrosse.
That meant little to Pannell and Cornell coach Ben DeLuca.
“They did a great job of capitalizing off the mistakes we made,” DeLuca said. “When they had opportunities they put it in the back of the net. They played as good as I’ve seen them play in the last few weeks. We helped them in that cause by making some poor decisions in the first half.”
Ironically, Pannell's younger brother James, a junior at Smithtown West, has committed to play at Virginia.
Pannell will find out if he won the Tewaaraton Trophy at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on June 2.
Stay tuned to Patch.com for updates and other stories about Pannell in the coming months.