After three training camp sessions, the Georgia Swarm capped their first weekend of training camp with a 21-14 exhibition loss to the Halifax Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon.
“A number of the guys, that was their first time playing an indoor game, let alone an NLL game,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “It’s a big adjustment, and it doesn’t matter how hard you practice or what you do in practice. It doesn’t come across the same as it would in a game.”
The three practices across the preceding Friday and Saturday gave the new names and faces on the Swarm plenty of opportunity to play the game professionally for the first time – as was the case for Sergio Perkovic, TJ Comizio, Gunnar Schimoler, and Mikey Herring – and/or learn the Swarm’s systems.
Gunnar Schimoler awaiting a pass in a transition drill | Photo Credit: Shane Wilson/Georgia Swarm
Sunday’s afternoon game afforded them the chance to show what they had learned and put it to the test, but poor defense in the first half saw the Swarm down 15-9 at halftime.
“They (the rookies) made mistakes, but we expect them to make mistakes,” Comeau said. “That’s what our job is – to help correct those so we make fewer mistakes next week. So that’s the focus this week, just about working hard and working on correcting some of the errors we made today.”
The second half of the game went 6-5 in the Thunderbirds’ favor, but the Swarm defense rotated in a crop of veteran defenders to help bolster the back end. Kevin and Steven Orleman split goaltending duties throughout the game, with the elder Orleman bookending play.
Seven different Swarm players netted a goal, with Lyle Thompson and Brendan Bomberry each netting hat tricks. Lyle’s came in the first half and Bomberry’s in the second, his third goal of the afternoon capping the contest’s scoring.
“Never happy with a loss,” Comeau said. “Disappointed. I didn’t think our effort, intensity, compete level was where it needed to be, especially early in the game, but the preseason is about building blocks and taking your temperature to see where you’re at right now, so that was a good learning lesson for our veteran guys and certainly a good eye opener for the young guys.”
Players will rest and recuperate before reconvening for the second weekend of training camp from Nov. 15-17. Training camp will continue to get harder as the Swarm seek to narrow the 31 members down to a 21-man Active Roster and four-player Practice Squad.
But even after a loss and the ever-increasing competition on the horizon, the Swarm remain optimistic. Training camp is the perfect time to work out the kinks and get into a rhythm before the regular season kicks off.
“Getting together as a group and starting to formulate our team, it’s always a great success to do that,” Comeau concluded. “We’re not going to let a loss in an exhibition game define where we’re at. I think we had lots of good successes this weekend and certainly gave a lot of new guys a chance to experience indoor lacrosse and give them a taste of where they need to be to play at this level.”
Players watch a drill during a camp session | Photo Credit: Shane Wilson/Georgia Swarm
The Swarm’s Season Opener will be against the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, Nov. 30. Face-off at Blue Cross Arena is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Swarm’s Home Opener at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena is set for Saturday, Dec. 14. The Philadelphia Wings will come to Sting City, and face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can get their tickets by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/Tickets or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.