2023-24 NLL Preview: Can the Swarm Avoid a Slow Start?


Lyle Thompson finished 2022-23 with 106 points, marking his fourth 100-point season in the NLL.

With the 2023-24 National Lacrosse League season set to begin Dec. 1-2, USA Lacrosse Magazine is going team by team in the days leading up to the opener. Today, we take a deep dive on the Georgia Swarm.


2022-23 Record: 8-10
Head Coach: Ed Comeau, eighth season
 Assistants: Sean Ferris, Andy Secore

Additions: Liam Byrnes, D (Philadelphia)
Departures: Robert Hudson, D (Calgary); Craig Wende, G (Halifax)


Can the Swarm avoid a slow start in 2023-24?

It was a tale of two seasons for the Georgia Swarm last year. They looked well on their way to a lost season, and perhaps a shot at eventual No. 1 pick Dyson Williams, when they started the campaign with seven straight losses.

But much to the surprise of everyone outside that locker room, Georgia turned things around by winning eight of its next nine to re-enter the playoff picture. Ultimately, the Swarm fell just short thanks to back-to-back defeats to end the year.

The change in fortune coincided with a major uptick in production from the Swarm’s top offensive players. Lyle Thompson and Shayne Jackson averaged three more points per game in the nine-game stretch following the 0-7 start than they did during the losing streak. Andrew Kew jumped about up two points per game, resulting in a team-best 7.55 average during the 8-1 run.

Thompson and Kew each finished with 106 points, marking Thompson’s fourth 100-point season and Kew’s new career high.

It must be mentioned that the win streak came against a rather weak schedule. Only one of the triumphs — an April 2 win over Halifax — came against a team that made the playoffs. Is it realistic to expect a more consistent showing this season?

Will Brett Dobson establish himself as the next great young goaltender?

The last time most lacrosse fans saw Brett Dobson, he was backstopping the Premier Lacrosse League’s Archers to the club’s first championship. Dobson, in just his first full season as the team’s full-time starter, was named the most valuable player of the PLL championship game for his efforts, ending the first chapter in what is sure to be a stellar field career.

Those who only follow the outdoor game may not know Dobson is just as impressive in the box. Despite young goaltenders often needing years in the NLL before finding success, Dobson finished second in Rookie of the Year voting last season and was named to the all-rookie team less than a year after being selected 11th overall in the draft.

Taking over for Craig Wende in the Swarm’s fourth game, he was crucial for Georgia’s turnaround.

Dobson finished with a 77.9 save percentage and a 10.69 goals against average in nearly 900 minutes played, one of the top seasons ever for a rookie goaltender.

And luckily for the Swarm, Dobson is the man for the foreseeable future after they locked him up on a four-year extension in early November. What does he have in store for his sophomore encore?


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