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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Sam Swart to return in 2022

The senior is taking her extra year of eligibility and returning for one final run at the national title.

2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

This truly has been the good news week that we’ve been anticipating for the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team.

Wednesday brought the big news that Kayla Treanor will be returning to home after being hired as the third women’s lacrosse head coach in school history.

But earlier in the week, the team also got good player news for next year’s team.

Senior midfielder Sam Swart announced on Monday that she will be returning to SU for her extra year of eligibility granted by the pandemic and the shortened 2020 season.

Swart started all 21 games for SU this season and scored a career-high 41 goals on her way to being named an All-American for the first time.

In her post, Swart talked about Syracuse being her dream school, looking up to Carmelo Anthony as a role model, painting her room orange and asking for oranges for her birthday. You’ve got to respect that level of obsession (Sam’s word, not mine) with good ole SU.

As far as the 2022 edition of Syracuse women's lacrosse goes, this is obviously great news. Swart is critically important to the Orange on both ends of the field. Offensively, she is the team’s best scoring midfielder. Defensively, she puts in very under appreciated work up top for that ‘Cuse defense. Her speed is also a tremendous weapon for the Orange transition game. On top of all that, she’s sure to be one of the emotional leaders for next year’s team; an important role to fill with Asa Goldstock out of eligibility.

Swart’s return further fortifies an offense that is lining up to be almost unbelievable in terms of its talent and overall depth.

A potential starting offense for the ladies next season could have Emily Hawryschuk, Meaghan Tyrrell, Megan Carney and Emma Ward at attack, and Swart, Sierra Cockerille and Emma Tyrrell at midfield.

To say that is a loaded lineup doesn’t quite do them justice. There’s not a single weak spot anywhere there. The only thing you might be able to say is the old “only one ball” argument that you sometimes hear in the NBA, but this year’s team proved that egos are not an issue for them. We’ve already seen that this group of players doesn’t care at all who put the ball in the back of the net; only that it ends up there.

The offense will also have incredible depth with the likes of Jenny Markey, Maddy Baxter and Bianca Chevarie working as backup midfielders. Markey was a starter after Carney’s season-ending injury this year, and she and Baxter in particular showed impressive flashes of skill when given opportunities this season.

Goal scoring should not be a problem for the women’s lacrosse team next year.

Swart is the first senior (that I’ve seen) to make her intentions public about using her extra year of eligibility. This year’s senior class are the ones to watch for those decisions, and I’d say there’s two other key contributors whose decisions will loom large for the Orange.

Grace Fahey and Ally Trice are two very important players whose presence or absence could make a huge difference next year. They were both starters on defense this year, and that’s the area of the team that’s going to need the most help next year.

We already know that graduate students Asa Goldstock, Kerry Defliese and Ella Simkins are out of eligibility, so the ‘Cuse defense is already going to have the monumental task of replacing three critical pieces. If Fahey and Trice decide to move on, then the defense is essentially replacing every starter except for Sarah Cooper. That would be a nightmarish task for defensive coordinator and interim head coach Caitlin Defliese.

But if they decide to return, they form a nice core of returning starters to help ease the transition to the post-Goldstock era. Add in Swart and Cockerille and all of a sudden the defensive end wouldn’t look quite as different as we thought.

For now we’ll have to wait and see, so stay tuned and keep your eyes out for that.

In the meantime, I’m going to take my cue from the final line of Sam’s post:

“I look forward to winning a national championship with my 2022 team”.

I like the way you think, Sam.