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Swarm Mailbag: 2019-20 Preview

Welcome to the first Swarm Mailbag! My name is Ty Merrow, resident Swarm expert. Here, I’ll answer your stinging questions about the Swarm, the NLL, and box lacrosse.

The 2019-20 NLL season kicks off this Friday, Nov. 29, and the Georgia Swarm will partake in the opening weekend festivities on Saturday against the Rochester Knighthawks. With the honor of being the first team to face the expansion Knighthawks, the Swarm will try and start the freshman team’s tenure with a loss. You can catch the action on B/R Live for FREE during the NLL’s opening weekend!

With plenty of questions about the Swarm, let’s waste no time and get right to them! Do note that all opinions here are my own unless specified otherwise.

Daniel K. from Flowery Branch, GA

How could we possible give up 21 goals in the first preseason game?

Merrow: Ah, we’re starting the inaugural Mailbag talking about one bad exhibition game performance. Cool.

Before that exhibition game against the Halifax Thunderbirds, the Swarm held three practices within a 24-hour period. Stating the obvious here, but that’s a lot of practice, and everybody was dog tired by the time Sunday rolled around. It was a tough welcome back for the men, and their lack of communication in the back end didn’t help matters.

That being said, it was a good wake-up call for them, and the defense saw significant improvement in the next exhibition game later that week. Defensive players were loud the entire game, and their efforts helped hold the Bandits offense to just one goal across the second and third quarters.

Offensively, the team was great in both games, even with being tired in the first one. 14 goals wins games more often than not. Given how the team played in the second and third weeks of Training Camp, I wouldn’t be worried about them based off of the first exhibition game of Training Camp.

Lyle Thompson looks on during a drill at Training Camp | Photo Credit: Bryce France

Mindy S. from Chamblee, GA

What will be the key to a successful 2019-20 season?

Merrow: Health. Bit of an anti-climatic answer, but the Swarm offense looked incredible in Training Camp, and I think the defense will surprise people with how solid they are. Injuries are about the only thing that can put a damper on the Swarm’s season, but the Swarm front office and coaching staff are incredibly receptive to the players’ conditioning and are doing everything in their power to keep guys performing at their maximum efficiency.

Christie C. from Hoschton, GA

How is Randy Staats? Looks like his ankle was bothering him at Open Practice.

Merrow: Swarm head coach Ed Comeau assures me that Staats’ early exit from Sunday’s Training Camp was entirely precautionary, and they expect Staats to be ready to go come Saturday night up in Rochester. Like I said in the previous question, the Swarm organization takes the health and well-being of the players very seriously and is doing their best to make sure guys are healthy come game time.

Mark D. from Lawrenceville, GA

In all your time with the Swarm, which Swarm goal was your favorite?

Merrow: I’m tempted to say Jordan Hall’s between-his-legs goal when his back was to the goalie back in the 2017-18 season. Zed Williams’ behind-the-back goal against the Calgary Roughnecks in 2018-19 was also incredible because of how jaw-droppingly effortless and quick it was. There have been lots of good offensive weapons on the Swarm over the years, so it’s hard to pick one given how creative they’ve all been.

But for my money, defenseman Matt Dunn scoring his first goal on the power play is the best. It was his second-ever box lacrosse game, and Dunn’s stick skills were still very raw then. American field players take time to adapt to the box game, and Dunn finding a measure of offensive success that early in his career is a great testament to his adaptability and makes you excited for US players trying to entrench themselves at the highest level of the sport of lacrosse.

I asked Dunn if he was going to score more this season at Training Camp, and we ended up talking about his goal against the Philadelphia Wings. He had a good laugh because everyone else was being defended during that transition play except for him since he was new to the sport. I told him it was scored during the final seconds of the man-advantage, and he just didn’t believe me.

And it wasn’t the men in blue and yellow, but how bout the kid in blue and yellow making SportsCenter Top 10 with the Jr. Swarm in the summer of 2018?

Have a question you’d like answered in a future Swarm Mailbag? Submit your question at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Mailbag!

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