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Polar Bear of the Week: Skye LaMendola ’27

October 27, 2023

Courtesy of Michael Maher
DIGGIN’ DEEP: Polar Bear of the Week Skye LaMendola ’27 goes for a pass during a game. LaMendola is currently leading the NESCAC in kills in her first collegiate season and looks forward to the rest of her career.

Outside hitter Skye LaMendola ’27 has consistently led the volleyball team (10–8; 3–6 NESCAC) in kills this season and embarked on her collegiate career by starting all 18 games so far. The Polar Bears will close out their regular season this weekend, but LaMendola confidently looks towards her future in collegiate volleyball at Bowdoin.

“I want to win everything. Period. I want to win the [NESCAC tournament]. I think we have a really strong freshman class and a really strong team in general. Our coaches are fantastic. The only thing that’s going to be holding us back would be ourselves. We have to put the work in and the time, and we should be able to do really great things,” LaMendola said.

LaMendola believes the team is progressing well but views consistency as key to future improvement.

“We want to keep it aggressive, but also make sure we’re limiting our errors, which I think we’ve done. We’ve definitely started getting better, which is great to see,” she said.

LaMendola started playing volleyball at age 14 in her hometown of Farmers Branch, Texas. She cites her mother and sister as inspirations for her volleyball career.

“My mom played and coached. So she’s always been able to help me with my game and helps me see things that I’ve missed on the court…. And my sister—she’s the most driven person I know. She’s so committed. That’s really inspiring for me as well,” she said.

Reflecting on her first season at Bowdoin, LaMendola emphasized the importance of concentrating on the game itself rather than previous mistakes.

“I know my limits, I know my abilities. If I make a mistake, I know it’s a one-off and next time, next point, next set, next ball, I’m going to be there and I’m gonna be able to do something different with it,” she said.

LaMendola currently leads the NESCAC with 267 kills this season.

“I knew [the NESCAC] was going to be a competitive conference, but I never really doubted that I could come in and make a difference. I’m not shocked, but I am pleased,” LaMendola said.

LaMendola has enjoyed the team’s tight-knit community and pregame traditions.

“We have a ritual of having a little dance party [before games]. Our go-to song is ‘Dark Horse’ by Katy Perry. We get absolutely crazy for that song every single time, and it really gets us hyped up. It’s just so much fun, and it gets us in the right mindset,” she said. “[My teammates] make playing the sport so much fun, regardless of the score, regardless of our record—you’re never not having fun with them.”

The team begins its last weekend of regular season play tonight against Brandeis University (8–12) and moves on to Tufts University (11–9; 4–4 NESCAC) tomorrow.

“We’ve played with everything we have in our hearts, and I’m just so excited that I’ve gotten to play with them. No matter how the season ends, I’m just so glad I had the opportunity to get to know and play with [this team],” LaMendola said.


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