There are always concerns, merited or otherwise, that a second-year player will experience a sophomore slump. The Swarm has had luck in recent years that its sophomores don’t experience that superstition, and Bryan Cole is no exception.
Cole followed up his strong rookie season adeptly. He played a game more, recorded three more assists and points, and nearly doubled his loose ball total with 95.
Cole trusted in himself more in transition opportunities and was effective during those chances, using them to either roll out the red carpet for the Swarm offense or burying the ball into the back of the net.
His two shorthand goals make him a surprisingly dangerous element to the penalty kill unit, as he and Jordan MacIntosh used their solid defensive abilities to help mitigate the damage dealt against during a man-down while using their wheels to get that shorthand goal “x” on the boxscore.
“I thought Colesy stepped up very well,” Swarm assistant coach Sean Ferris said. “Played on the man-short, played on the ball team, pushed the ball in transition, and he played with a lot of confidence. He was physical out there, too.”
At the end of the 2017 season, one Swarm player made the argument that Cole was one of the top three defensemen on the team. His defense as a transition player is above what one would expect from a tranny, and he, along with fellow sophomore Connor Sellars, remained at that high level and was a factor in the Swarm’s strong defensive second half of the 2017-18 season.
Cole’s penalty numbers did double compared to his rookie year, but most of that came during one game. Take away that one unfortunate game, and Cole would have received one less penalty than his 2017 season despite having played one more game.
Going into his third season with the Swarm, Cole is displaying the skills and poise that were hoped for when he was selected in the first round of the 2016 NLL Draft. The man plays a high-level of lacrosse, is effective on the defensive end and a lynchpin in the penalty kill unit, and can bury the dagger when he needs to.
Dynamic on both sides of the floor.
Best Game of the Year:
Scoping things out | Photo Credit: Garrett James
Toronto Rock visits to The Hive are always a blast for fans, and those games always tend to bring out the best in Swarm players. Cole delivered his best game of the season, finishing with four points (1G, 3A), 11 loose balls, and a caused turnover.
With half of a Swarm penalty left to kill at the end of the first quarter, the Rock had the perfect opportunity to stretch their lead to 7-4. A wide Rock shot bounced over the middle of the floor with mere seconds left on the shot clock. Toronto forward Adam Jones tried to prevent it from going over and missed as the ball took a weird hop. MacIntosh got the ball, but Jones was there with him to pester him for a CTO.
To prevent this, MacIntosh used his left hand to underhand the ball to Cole, but it went high, and Cole found himself trying to scoop up a loosie while sandwiched between two Rock players. He hockeyed it forward to MacIntosh. MacIntosh grabbed it and ran bench-side, drawing the three Rock players to him.
Cole had never stopped moving and was at the crease before Toronto figured out where he was. MacIntosh made the pass high, Cole jumped to snag it, and as Nick Rose went low, Cole skipped to avoid stepping in the crease and dunked it in, falling from his efforts.
It got the Swarm within one to close out the first 15 minutes, and Georgia was able to build upon it to finish with an electrifying 14-13 OT victory.
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2017-18 Player Capsules: