February 24, 2013

Pannell Returns With Nine Points Against Hobart

from staff reports

Rob Pannell returned to the field with a nine-point outing Sunday night against Hobart.
© Greg Wall

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Cornell fifth-year senior Rob Pannell stepped back onto the lacrosse field like he had never left. Hobart wished he had just taken a few more days to heal up.

Pannell recorded four goals and five assists in his first game since missing the final 11 games of 2012 with a broken foot and the Big Red offense scored 12 second half goals to pull away from the Statesmen 19-11 on Sunday evening at the Carrier Dome. Cornell won its season opener, while Hobart fell to 1-1.

Pannell, the 2011 national player of the year, moved into second place on the school's career points list (261), surpassing the legendary Eamon McEneaney '77 who had 256. He also joined McEneaney as the second player in school history to surpass 150 career assists, as his five helpers gave him 154. The nine points were one off a career single game best.

Pannell's return, a resurgent Steve Mock and an emerging Connor Buczek sparked the Big Red to an uneven, but resounding, victory against its regional rival. Mock matched a career high with five goals, including four finished off Pannell feeds, and Buczek scored four goals and assisted on another. The Big Red took control of the face-offs in the third after struggling in that area in the first half, winning 9-of-11 in the period as the offense started clicking. Doug Tesoriero won 14-of-23 face-offs, including six to himself.

Senior goalkeeper AJ Fiore was strong in the first half as Cornell shrugged off some dust from a long offseason, making six saves in the first 30 minutes and seven for the game to pick up the win. His defense had moments of excellence, with Jason Noble and Thomas Keith each causing three turnovers.

The Statesmen were in the game much of the night, but never could get back to even after Cornell jumped out to leads of 3-1 after one, 7-3 at the half and 10-3 midway through the third. The only tie came at 1-1, and Pannell single-handedly ended that with a pair of rocket goals to announce his presence. Pannell then added assists on a pair of goals 32 seconds apart to help the Big Red extend the lead to 7-3 at halftime.

Hobart, with a game under its belt, looked more at game speed early before Cornell was able to get its legs under them. By the time they did, it was lights out. The Big Red scored the final three goals in the span of 1:52 late in the second quarter to look more like the team it envisioned itself. They opened the second half with three goals in the first three minutes and it was all Cornell.

Except that Hobart had one last run in them. Four straight scores, including the first two of the season for Derek Akner, tightened the game to 11-8 with a little less than two minutes left in the half. Buczek answered 43 seconds later to start a 6-0 run that sealed things, making it 17-8 with 9:28 left in regulation.

Alex Love had three goals and two assists for Hobart to lead the Statesmen, while Cam Stone had two goals and an assist. Goalkeeper Peter Zonino had 10 saves in picking up his first loss of the year.

Cornell returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. when it meets Binghamton at Schoellkopf Field for its home opener.


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