Over the weekend, Brendan Staudt broke news on InLaxWeTrust.com that senior captain and midfielder Rob Pannell would be forgoing graduating on Sunday, May 27 and would instead apply for a medical redshirt, with hopes that he could remain with Cornell for an additional season. When contacted, Pannell declined to comment.
The news came after ESPN announcer Eamon McAnaney tweeted on Saturday that he “can confirm that Rob Pannell will not graduate from Cornell and will apply for a medical redshirt to play next season for the Big Red.”
Pending approval of his medical redshirt, this would be a large decision for Pannell — who was the No. 1-overall draft pick in the MLL Collegiate Draft earlier this year. Entering this past season, Pannell was considered a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy — an honor for which senior teammate Roy Lang was nominated.
In the first game of the season on February 28, Pannell exploded with 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists) against visiting Binghamton, contributing to a 17-12 victory for the Red. Based on this initial performance, the season seemed like it would be a very strong one for the midfielder. However, in the next game against Army on March 3 — despite a strong showing with 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) — Pannell suffered an injury to his left foot before Cornell could claim the 18-7 landslide.
Pannell underwent surgery to mend the broken bone; however, a six week recovery period proved wishful thinking for the Red, as the midfielder never returned to the lineup. Pannell was seen on the sidelines throughout the season, doing everything from wearing a boot to competently managing on crutches to riding a special motorized scooter. The captain transformed his position of leadership on the team from leading by example on the field to mentoring underclassmen from the sidelines.
While it is still unclear whether Pannell will be cleared to return and play with the Red for an additional “super senior” season, the MLL team which drafted him, the Long Island Lizards, will maintain their rights if he is listed on their inactive roster.
Check CornellSun.com/section/Sports in the upcoming weeks for updates on this story.