EPHRAIM, Utah — The College of Southern Idaho volleyball team defeated Utah State-Eastern in four sets on Friday to advance to the Region 18 title match.

The 25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 25-20 win vaulted fifth-ranked CSI (27-3) to its fourth straight title match. A win over tournament host Snow College on Saturday would give CSI its third conference title in four years.

“We’re used to being in this spot,” CSI head coach Heidi Cartisser said over the phone Friday night. “We’ve had pressure on us all year, and we’re gonna accept that pressure.”

CSI didn’t dominate any set against USU-Eastern, but Cartisser didn’t sense any nerves from her players. It helped that they led most of the way in each of the first two sets, and they won both of them to put the other Golden Eagles on the brink of elimination.

USU-Eastern took a tight third set, but CSI regained control in the fourth and marched to victory.

CSI freshman outside hitter Airi Miyabi led all players with 19 kills and three aces. Sophomore outside hitter JoJo Cruise had 14 kills and 21 digs, and sophomore middle blocker Jasmyn Keohohina-Malina tallied 13 kills, 10 digs and two blocks.

Sophomore libero Esti Wilson had 15 digs, and sophomore setter Morgan Weatherwax added 49 assists for CSI.

CSI’s only two Scenic West Athletic Conference losses this season came to Salt Lake CC, which also beat CSI in last year’s Region 18 title match in Twin Falls. But SLCC was swept by Snow on Friday, its third loss to the Badgers in as many tries this season.

CSI, on the other hand, defeated Snow in both of its regular season matches, both in five sets. Cartisser said Saturday’s opponent didn’t matter to her.

“They’re talented, and they can get the job done,” she said of her players.

CSI will get a chance to return to the NJCAA Division I championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. on Snow’s home court.

The girls are definitely up for the match. I think they’re gonna thrive under that pressure,” Cartisser said. “Ready to get this one out of the way so we can really find out what this team is made of.”

Men’s basketball opens season with blowout win

WILLISTON, N.D. — The CSI men’s basketball team opened the regular season with a 96-66 win over Williston State Friday night on the first day of the Williston State Invitational.

The 10th-ranked Golden Eagles were led by sophomore guard and Utah commit Charles Jones Jr., who had 16 points, three rebounds and two assists. Fellow sophomore Jake Hendricks scored 15 points, all on 3-pointers. He went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.

Freshman forward Khalid Thomas had 13 points and eight rebounds, and sophomore guard Danya Kingsby had 12 points and eight boards. Sophomore forward Tommy Burton and freshman guard Roberto Gittens each had 10 points, and Burton had seven rebounds.

CSI finishes the Invite against Western Nebraska CC on Saturday.

Women’s basketball improves to 2-0

WILLISTON, N.D. — The CSI women’s basketball team stayed undefeated with a 96-50 win over Williston State Friday night on the first day of the Williston State Invitational.

Freshman guard Gabriella Bruno led the 24th-ranked Golden Eagles with 15 points, and she grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Tiena Afu added 10 points and eight rebounds, and 2016 Jerome High School graduate Kaela McClure had five points and four assists.

CSI finishes the Invite against Western Nebraska CC on Saturday.

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