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Syracuse field hockey welcomes Sam Swart from women’s lacrosse team

Here’s why the grad student is changing sports

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

Fans of the Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse program were probably used to seeing Sam Swart on the Dome turf. She did, after all, spend five seasons on the team, compiling 147 goals and 38 assists in 90 games. Earlier this week, Swart announced that she is coming back to the Orange for a final year... but in a different sport:

So, why the sudden change? It has to do with the NCAA’s additional year of eligibility. Normally, an athlete has five years to use their four years of eligibility, with a “redshirt” season where they play minimally, if at all, also thrown in. (A fifth season is added for graduate students, who must play immediately.) But due to COVID-19 cutting the Spring 2020 season short, those athletes were granted an extra year to compete.

Of course, Swart didn’t need that extra year - she started in every Cuse game during her final three seasons. But there was something else that she could use while she wrapped up her graduate program. Although the Fall 2020 and Winter 2020-21 seasons went on as planned, athletes in those sports were also granted an extra year, so as not to pressure them to return if they felt unsafe. So although Sam no longer had the option of playing lacrosse, she still technically had the option of using that final year of eligibility in another sport.

Fortunately for her, there is one more at SU that fits her skill set. Swart played field hockey in high school, including on the US U-19 team for current SU head coach Agne Bradley, and there happened to be room on the Orange roster for her.

It’s unknown if a scholarship factored into her decision; there are 12.0 scholarships available for D1 field hockey teams, which average 24 players on the roster. What is known is that Swart has been planning this move for some time:

She’s currently listed as a midfielder on Cuse.com, the same position she played in lacrosse. It will be interesting to see what kind of production she puts up in a sport where far fewer goals are scored. The Orange play an up-tempo style so Swart’s experience and athleticism can benefit a team adding seven new players in the fall. We wish Sam and the rest of the team the best of luck this fall.