alle Majorana still spends her weekday afternoons at Ensley Athletic Center even though her final season playing for Syracuse ended almost a year ago. She still fires shots on cage but no longer shoots to score. One of the program’s top offensive weapons of the past now aims to improve her former teammates.
“She’s been playing lacrosse since the third grade,” Tom Majorana, Halle’s father said. “To not be on the field is kind of difficult for her. So, to be involved on the coaching level is something that satisfies her competitive nature.”
Both Majorana and former teammate Allie Murray are back on the coaching staff nearly a year after a heartbreaking, season-ending loss to Maryland on Final Four weekend. Majorana is an assistant coach and the goalkeeper Murray joins as a volunteer assistant. They combine to create, in head coach Gary Gait’s words, “The Halle-Allie Show.” The duo has returned to help the program finally accomplish that unreached goal.
“I hate to fail,” Murray said. “Anytime if you don’t end on a win you want to try it again. (Winning) is a little addicting in that way.”
Majorana remains relatable to many upperclassmen because she’s still an undergraduate student pursuing a child and family studies degree. The former captain also serves as a mentor to the underclassmen. But to some on the team, including redshirt junior Taylor Gait, she’s a roommate and a friend.
Gait and Majorana entered college at the same time, but a variety of injuries have forced Gait into medical redshirts prolonging her career.
“(We are) best friends,” Gait said. “She just makes fun of me all the time and chirps.”
Murray also lives with Gait and Majorana, but the situation for her is more businesslike. She has a job lined up as a nuclear engineer on a U.S. Navy submarine, Gary Gait said, once she finishes her graduate studies. Murray also spends more time in the office while Majorana prefers the locker room.
Unlike Majorana, Murray doesn’t spend time with anyone her own age at practice. Murray specializes with the goalie group of which the oldest still falls three classes below her. But Murray started all but one game last season for the Orange, and now finds herself grooming her own replacement.
Murray played an unconventional style of goalie, often rushing attackers and leaving the net unguarded, but she doesn’t plan to force that style on her current players. Each goalie has her own style, she said, and that’s something the player decides, not the coach.
“It’s been cool to watch each goalie play super well,” Murray said. “… To not be on the field myself but just watch them has been pretty rewarding.”
Unlike in their playing days, the assistants now spend a considerable amount of time in the coach’s office. There, they understand the inner workings of what made their teams so successful. Seeing the game from a coach’s perspective has taught both former players more about the game than they expected.
“You notice a lot of things you wouldn’t while playing,” Majorana said. “For instance, some turnovers you make in a game you notice you wouldn’t make so much now. … It slows down the game instead of just being in the moment and playing.”
Majorana herself knows a multitude of ways to skirt past a defender. She scored 100 goals in two All-American seasons with the Orange. But unlike a split-dodge or a spin move, her ability to create on the fly remains easier to do than to teach.
“(Coach Gait) lets you be creative and add your own little style to the way you play,” Murray said. “That’s what I’m trying to help these girls realize, is to be creative and not be afraid to make mistakes.”
The rewards of coaching for Majorana are simple. A smile on players’ faces after achieving something they worked toward tells her she did her job.
When Majorana and Murray both transferred to Syracuse, their additions each complemented already stacked rosters seemingly poised to win the program’s first national championship. While they arrived at Syracuse in different ways, their careers ended the same. A way they hope to help their former teammates avoid repeating.
The roles are different, but the goal is the same.
“Part of me hasn’t finished yet,” Majorana said. “We didn’t get the chance to win the national championship. But any way I can help this team achieve their goals … I’m willing to do whatever.”
Banner photos Ally Moreo and Jacob Greenfeld | The Daily Orange
Published on February 9, 2017 at 12:50 am