Jane Earley ’23 tabbed USLM DIII Lacrosse Preseason Player of the Year

By Niamh Carty

Prior to the start of the Spring 2021 NCAA lacrosse season, U.S. Lacrosse Magazine named Jane Earley ’23 its Division III Women’s Preseason Player of the Year. Earley — who recently took a gap year to gain an extra year of athletic eligibility — had a standout season her first year, earning Second-Team NESCAC, Second-Team IWLCA All-American and NCAA All-Tournament Team accolades. 

Jane Earley (#5) is a Second-Team All-American player for Middlebury. (Courtesy: Jane Earley)

The more I watched Jane play her freshman season, the more I understood that she is actually better under pressure,” Kate Livesay, head coach of Middlebury women’s lacrosse, said. “That was never more evident than in the National Championship when she made play after play to keep our confidence high and extend our lead.”

The accolade came as a complete surprise to Earley, who was notified at work that she received the award.

“I was actually at work so I was fully serving at a restaurant when I got a call from my coach, and she was like ‘oh, by the way they’ve named you preseason player of the year,’” Earley said. “It’s a huge honor, especially since I’ve only really played my freshman year.”

Even though the NESCAC Presidents announced that a limited spring season would be possible, with only four players on campus this spring, Middlebury women’s lacrosse will not be able to field a team. Williams, Bowdoin and Amherst also do not have enough on-campus players to participate.

Given that the spring 2021 season would have only consisted of about five or six games, Earley does not feel that she and her teammates are missing out on much. The team is still training, lifting and playing wall ball three times a week, as well as having Zoom workouts. 

“I’ve been able to have my stick in my hands, not as much as I would like to, but I’m getting what I can,” Earley said.

During her gap year, Earley has been working at a local restaurant in her hometown of North Falmouth, Mass., as well as substitute teaching at local public schools and coaching for her club lacrosse team in Boston. Over the summer, she participated in a pick-up league in Boston and has played occasionally while with her club team. However, Earley noted that the time away from the field and campus presents challenges.

“I’m going from being a freshman to not playing for two seasons, and then being the age of a senior, so a goal of mine is to figure out how to be a leader while not knowing many of the underclassmen,” Earley said. “I want to play well, and taking this much time off is scary because you’re not practicing at the caliber you were before.”

Taking a year off was not a difficult decision for Earley, who is now a part of the class of 2023. “I knew once I lost that season, I would want to get a season back, and I knew to do that I would have to take a season off,” she said.

Although she was originally committed to play D-I lacrosse at Boston College, Earley affirmed that she’s happy she chose the D-III level. After five months sitting with this decision in high school, Earley realized that D-I was not the path she wanted to take. Earley’s dad played lacrosse at Bowdoin and, knowing positive experience there, took an interest in the NESCAC. 

“D-I is pretty cool, but I would say playing D-III and playing at Middlebury is just as cool, if not cooler,” Earley said. “I have never regretted that decision; it was the perfect choice for me. And I would argue we could beat a lot of D-I teams.”

Earley is still eligible for three more seasons of lacrosse, so she has entertained the idea of taking more time off in the future, which would push her to the class of 2024. At the moment, though, she has her sights set on the 2022 season.