Versatility in lacrosse is a rarity. Players are typically given their role – offense or defense – and stick to it. The transition player moniker is given to players that can dip into both ends, but it’s difficult to be truly effective on both O and D.
Bryan Cole showed in 2018-19 that it was no problem for him.
The third-year transition player missed three games early in the season, two to injury and another due to a one-game suspension.
During his first eight games, Cole turned in his typical strong defense with some timely transition. But after the Swarm dropped back-to-back games in February, the coaches had Cole lean more into the transition part of his game, staying up for a few offensive shifts each game to get guys like Shayne Jackson and Holden Cattoni open.
It worked out pretty well. Over that span, the Swarm were 5-2, and the University of Maryland alum posted 20 points (9G, 11A), 25 loose balls, and six caused turnovers.
Swarm assistant coach Dan Ladouceur put it best:
“I think this past season was the best that we’ve seen Bryan Cole play. His value for us as an organization went through the roof.”
It’s hard to understate how important Cole was to the Swarm this season. He was already touted by teammates after his rookie season for his defense and integrated himself into the top of the Swarm penalty kill formation beside Jordan MacIntosh in his sophomore season.
But when his transition abilities took that next step forward after he was given the green light to help out on offense from time to time, Cole moved up depth charts across the NLL and caught the attention of the Canadian Men’s Indoor Lacrosse Team for the 2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship.
There are only a few players in the NLL that can be considered true two-way players, players like Lyle Thompson, Kiel Matisz, and Challen Rogers. If Cole’s fourth NLL season is like the last seven games of his third season, then he could potentially join that prestigious list.
Being told to lean more into the transition part of his role did wonders for Cole’s 2018-19 season. In his first eight games, he was on pace for just two goals and nine assists in his third season, and his shooting percentage sat at 8.33%.
Eleven points would match his rookie total, but a shooting percentage that low would have become his career worst by a significant margin.
Fast forward to his last seven, and he recorded 20 points and a 32.14 S%, etching some new career highs.
Cole’s turnaround made his season eerily similar to MacIntosh’s.
MacIntosh gets more loose balls as the main faceoff guy on the Swarm, but given their stats totals this year and the fact that they both play on the top of the penalty kill formation, it’s getting to the point where the only way to tell them apart is by how they hold their stick.
2018-19 Player Capsules:
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