2022-2023 Record: 8-10, 6th place in the East Division, missed the playoffs
New Faces: Liam Byrnes, Hiana Thompson, Brady Kearnan, Nick Rowlett, Lucas Nagy
Key Losses: Robert Hudson, Craig Wende, Mike Poulin, Tanner Buck
The 2022-2023 NLL playoffs provided many memorable moments. Some were exciting, while others were shocking. Ultimately, there were enough of these moments to make most fans forget the Georgia Swarm nearly pulled off a miraculous feat of their own during the regular season.
Georgia opened their 2022-2023 campaign with seven straight losses, then went 8-1 to get back to a .500 record. With just two weeks left in the regular season, the Swarm found themselves in the thick of the playoff picture. While they lost their final two games to fall out of postseason contention, they showed the rest of the league what they could be capable of this upcoming season. Of course, that is provided they do not repeat their slow start again. Let’s see how things stack up in Sting City as Georgia prepares for the 2023-2024 NLL season.
The offense is anchored by a league MVP on each side: Lyle Thompson (2017) on the right, Shayne Jackson (2020) on the left. Joining Thompson on the right hand side are his brother Miles, Brendan Bomberry, Ryan Lanchbury, and Seth Oakes. Lanchbury in particular will be looking to improve upon a difficult rookie season. First round draft pick Kaleb Benedict and free agent signing Myles Hamm will also be competing for a spot on the right side.
On the left side, Jackson is complemented by a potential future league MVP in Andrew Kew, as well as Zach Miller, Teioshontateh McComber, and Hiana Thompson. Additional competition will come from 2022 draftee Brady Kearnan and free agent signings Matt Campbell and Luke Keenan. The Swarm were one of three NLL teams (along with Philadelphia and San Diego) to have multiple 100-point scorers last season, as Lyle Thompson and Kew both tallied 106 points on the year.
The defense brings back a solid veteran core and a younger group that is just as hungry, including 2023 rookie standout Brett Dobson in net. Team captain Jordan MacIntosh and Jeremy Thompson have combined to win nearly 3,900 faceoffs in their careers, so the offense can expect lots of extra possessions each game. Georgia can also make history by becoming the first professional spots franchise to feature four brothers on its roster, should all four Thompson brothers make the squad. The veteran core also includes Mike Manley, John Ranagan, Bryan Cole, Liam Byrnes, and Adam Wiedemann, who won the WLA’s Top Defensive Player award this past summer with the Nanaimo Timbermen.
The younger core features Ethan Riggs, Will Cecile, Kason Tarbell, Jeff Henrick, TJ Comizio, and Jerry Staats. 2023 draft picks Jacob Hickey, Nick Rowlett, and Chet Comizio will be vying for spots, along with Piper Bond (who just won a PLL title with Archers LC), Travis Brave Heart, and goaltenders Dustin Hill and Lucas Nagy. With a back end as formidable as this, the Swarm will likely have a much better start to the 2023-2024 season. Now that the league has adopted a Unified Standings format, that better start can easily propel Georgia back into the short list of NLL Cup contenders.
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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.