Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hanover's Patrick Hannigan Leads RIT Lacrosse on Final Four Run

Hanover native Patrick Hannigan (30) led RIT to the brink of a national championship at Gillette Stadium. While things didn't end the way he had hoped, the former Indian star reflected fondly on his career in Rochester.

By Michael Abelson (@ABELS0N)

Sports are hard. Being a captain is harder.

Being a captain of an elite team takes a special type of player. Not only are you expected to play at a high level, but you must lead your team on and off the field. Part player, part coach, being a team captain is not for the faint of heart.

Patrick Hannigan is captain material.

The Hanover native captained the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) men’s lacrosse team this season, and led it all the way to Sunday’s national title game at Gillette Stadium. The Tigers lost 15-7 to Salisbury, but the game had an added meaning for Hannigan, who finished his college career 45 minutes from his hometown.

“Throughout the whole year, it’s been the ultimate goal,” Hannigan said. “Finding out it would be at Gillette was huge for me. It was like a homecoming. In Rochester we don’t play any games in Massachusetts, or hardly any in [New England], so this is the closest game I’ve ever played for my family. It was nice to be in the local area for the championship.”

Hannigan was everything a defensive captain should be. He scooped up 68 ground balls this season and tied for the team lead in caused turnovers with 29.

Hannigan was always improving during his time in Rochester. From four ground balls his freshman year, Hannigan grew that number to 46 as a sophomore and 51 as a junior.

Like at RIT, where the Tigers made four NCAA tournaments with Hannigan on the squad, his Hanover High teams found consistent success. The Indians made the state tournament all four years Hannigan was on the team and, as a junior and senior, he helped lead the Indians to a combined 27-13 record and two straight Division 3 semifinal appearances.

“Being in such a small school, you really get a good close-knit group of guys that can work really well together,” Hannigan said of his years at Hanover. “With coaches like [Paul] Zaylor, they really understand what kids want out of the program, and they just want to do the best they can and possibly move on to the collegiate level. Coach Zaylor has always been great to me and my family. “

Hannigan was part of a 15-man senior class for the Tigers that leaves behind a great legacy of success, including a combined 79-7 record, two NCAA semifinal appearances, and Sunday’s championship game appearance.

“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years,” RIT coach Jake Coon said after the game Sunday. “A guy like Pat Hannigan had a rough start to his career and turned it over as a young man. He’s been great for us. He’s been consistent. He’s really stepped up as a leader this year. You know, doing the right things on and off the field.”

Now comes the next step for Patrick Hannigan, as he and his senior teammates leave the program and look to move on, but the bonds made during their years in the black and orange will remain strong for decades to come.

“I gained a lot of friends playing in Rochester that I met from all over the country that I hope to have for the rest of my life,” Hannigan said. “I’ve spent every single day, two to three hours a day, with them. I don’t think I’ll ever lose contact with any of them. I love playing with them. Sad it has to end.”

No comments :