Laila N’Diaye: continuing collegiate


Photo provided by: Photo by DSP

Although making such an important decision at a young age may appear daunting, Laila N’Diaye’s commitment to Florida State University is unwavering. “I chose to commit to FSU because I knew I wanted to stay in Florida, play on a good team, and have a well rounded education, so FSU was a perfect choice for me,” said N’Diaye.

Makayla Martindale, Sports Editor

While many athletes commit to a multitude of divisions to play college sports, significantly fewer have the opportunity to be recruited to Division 1 colleges to pursue their passion. However, senior and captain of the girls varsity volleyball team, Laila N’Diaye, has committed to Florida State University’s D1 Women’s Volleyball team.

For many students, offers to continue their athletic careers into college arise later in their high school years, but for N’Diaye, the opportunity arose when she was 14 years old.

“My recruiting process with FSU started when they saw me warming up at a tournament and we continued talking for a few months,” N’Diaye said. “Then, they invited me to a camp where I went on tours and met the staff and players. Ten days later, they offered me a full ride and I said yes.”

The development that N’Diaye has shown over the past four years on the varsity volleyball team has advanced her abilities as well as benefitted the team. She stepped up to the role of captain during her senior season, acting as a figure of leadership for her teammates both on and off the court.

“On the court Laila is a middle hitter and blocker,” varsity volleyball coach Allan Knight said. “She dominates in those categories making it difficult for the opponents to score against us, while racking up points for us in the process. Off the court, she is our captain. Her wisdom and inspiration make the players look up to her.”

While the volleyball team’s 26-3 record has made for a great season, the additional stresses that come with leading such a competitive team have enabled N’Diaye to thrive as a teammate.

“I’m really proud of how well my team has performed this season,” N’Diaye said. “I assumed that we were going to do well, but our record has definitely exceeded my expectations. This season has helped me become a better leader and taught me how to handle responsibility while still being a good teammate.”

N’Diaye’s attitude transformed the team dynamic by bringing the team closer together and acting as a source of motivation. 

“Laila has overcome much adversity with a positive perspective that has rubbed off on her teammates,” Knight said. “She leads the team with wonderful sportsmanship.”

The impact that N’Diaye has had on her teammates will likely be remembered for years as she continues onto her collegiate career.

“Laila has developed so much over the last three years I’ve played with her, especially learning how to lead those around her,” junior and varsity volleyball player Sarah Gooch said. “She has been a huge part of our success these past few years, so her skill and talent will be missed, but her kindness towards all of us will be missed the most.”