Photo courtesy of Nick Ieradi

Rob Pannell Rises to Second All-Time in Assists

By Jerome Taylor | Aug 22, 2023

For the second straight week, the Redwoods found themselves tied with their opponent after four quarters, and in consecutive weeks they left overtime with a win.

Against the Cannons, Charlie Bertrand’s dodging and finishing sealed the dub, but this past week, Wes Berg caught a feed before nailing the game-winner.

The dime came from a common source. And with the assist, Rob Pannell catapulted himself to second all-time in the category. 

Yet another accomplishment to go with the long list of milestones RP3 has added to his resume this summer. 

But this achievement comes in the statistical category that evoked nostalgia from one of the game’s best quarterbacks earlier in the season. 

“The first thing my dad told me when I picked up a lacrosse stick was that an assist counts just as much as a goal,” Pannell said after moving into third all-time in a July 9th win over Chaos. “And I took that to heart, and I’ve always loved to pass the ball, and I'm going to continue to do it as long as I play.”

This weekend’s game-winning dime was his only point of the match after being tightly guarded by reigning Defensive Player of the Year, JT Giles-Harris. So to get the feed through to Berg, Pannell relied on some deceptiveness that’s kept the assist counter ticking over these 11 seasons. 

“When it comes to feeding, a lot of times what I do is try to control the defense as much as I can with my eyes, my head, and my stick,” Pannell said. “This weekend in overtime, I hold the ball in my right hand, and I’m looking to my right to hold the defenders to my right, which might allow Wes to get a little bit more open.”

The subtle things he does to manipulate defenses have helped him get to 268 assists and break a tie with former teammate Joe Walters. Now the only player in the sport's history with more assists is 2023 Hall of Fame inductee Ryan Boyle.

Pannell has understandably remained reserved about the future of his lacrosse career. But it’s worth noting that first place is well within reach if he returns next season. If he kept up this season's average of 2 assists per game, he’d be close to closing the 24-assist gap between him and Brown. 

But right now, Pannell’s concerned with more important things as the regular season finale awaits this weekend. Then it’s playoff time, where Pannell has a chance to win his second professional championship and add yet another accolade to his illustrious resume. 

“At this point of the season, really focused on one thing, winning all of our remaining games, and that’s where my head’s at,” Pannell said.  

The Redwoods will have a chance to pick up another win before the playoffs in a season-opener rematch against Atlas on Friday in Salt Lake City, Utah.