Alie Jimerson transferred to Syracuse, where ‘lacrosse became fun again’
Ally Moreo | Photo Editor
Alie Jimerson clung to memories of home. The Albany freshman called her parents via Skype every other night to see their faces. Something was wrong and they didn’t notice.
A year later, the Irving, New York, native folded and told her mother she wanted to transfer. Her mother, Claudia, thought she was “being a baby,” but the sophomore pleaded. Claudia realized her daughter was unhappy, giving the repeated video chats a new meaning.
This January, Jimerson left her best friends behind and traded purple for orange. She felt the 140-mile move from Albany to Syracuse would change her perspective.
“Freshman year I thought about it,” Jimerson said. “I stayed another year and stuck it out. In the end, I wasn’t happy anymore, so I decided to come closer to home.”
In 13 games this season, Jimerson has emerged as an integral part of No. 11 SU’s (11-4, 4-1 Atlantic Coast) offense. Her 23 points (16 goals, seven assists) are good for fifth on the team. Recently, the junior attack has stepped up in wake of the injuries to Nicole Levy and Taylor Gait.
Growing up, Jimerson’s ideal target was Syracuse. Not only for the competitive lacrosse, but for the chance to connect to her Native American roots. The Midwinter Ceremony, an annual Cayuga event, occurs 15 minutes away from the SU campus. Jimerson, closer to the reservation, could now attend where she couldn’t before.
She also is a recipient of the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship, which SU offers to first-year or transfer students who are in one of 17 recognized territories. The honor allowed her to go on “culture leaves” — Syracuse-allowed trips to one’s reservation, such as the Midwinter. Back east in Albany, Jimerson would have been academically penalized if she had left.
On the field, Jimerson didn’t have a hard time at Albany. She totaled 113 points in two years as a Great Dane, third-most on the roster in that span. She developed a connection with her friends off the field and sometimes that helped her feel comfortable.
Jimerson transferred to SU three months ago, a school that didn’t recruit her in high school. Albany head coach John Battaglino lost one of his best players, and Jimerson hoped to find a joy that eluded her.
“We left things on pretty good terms,” Jimerson said. “I think in the end he wanted me to be happy, too.”
Through a spokesman, Battaglino declined to comment for this story.
At SU, it took several weeks for Jimerson to adjust. She missed fall training and lost chances to mesh with the offense. Through seven games, she had only five points. Injuries to Taylor Gait (March) and Levy (last week) bumped Jimerson into the starting lineup. In her last six games, she has recorded 18 points.
“I think we’re really seeing what she’s capable of,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “I think she’s added a little dimension to our attack over the last couple of games.”
As a Great Dane, Jimerson excelled behind the cage, using her height to dodge around defenders and find cutting attacks. She is trying to fit in the same role at Syracuse.
Before, playing at Albany, Jimerson’s parents did not see their daughter play because of the near-five-hour drive east. Instead, they saw her only once every couple of months. Now that the drive is roughly three hours, the family attends every home game. They love it.
The switch brought her closer to her home, family and heritage. And to the Orange’s benefit, it rekindled her connection to the sport she loves.
“Lacrosse became fun again,” Jimerson said. “Everything became not fun (at Albany).”
Published on April 12, 2017 at 11:27 pm