TWIN FALLS — The No. 5-ranked team needed five sets to keep its winning streak alive. And so it did.
The College of Southern Idaho faced defeat at several points of Saturday’s home match against Scenic West Athletic Conference foe Snow College, the 10th-ranked team in NJCAA Division I. The Golden Eagles (18-1) persisted and came away with a 15-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-20, 19-17 victory to extend their winning streak to 12.
“We don’t like to get into fifth-set predicaments,” CSI sophomore senior outside hitter JoJo Kruize said. “But when we do, CSI does not lose.”
CSI went into Saturday’s match with a streak of 10 sweeps. In other words, the Golden Eagles had won 30 straight sets, dating back to September 2 at the Salt Lake CC Tournament. That tournament also featured CSI’s only loss this season, a four-setter to Miami-Dade CC, the No. 1 team in the country.
Snow quickly and handily ended CSI’s set winning streak with a dominant first set.
CSI bounced back in the second, but Snow still caused problems. The uber-confident Golden Eagles looked vulnerable. They met their match, it seemed.
Snow handled CSI again in the third set to put the home team on the brink of defeat. But once again, the Golden Eagles rebounded. They went to a fifth set for the first time all season.
“They’re very disciplined on their blocks,” CSI sophomore right hitter Jasmyn Keohohina-Malina said.
CSI controlled most of the final set and smelled another victory when it took a 13-9 lead. But Snow went on a 4-0 run, and the set was back to even.
A Shiloh Peleras block gave the Golden Eagles a 14-13 lead, one away from victory, but the Badgers tied it up. Perleas put them up again with a kill, but Snow scored two straight points to go up 16-15, on the verge of an upset.
CSI tied it up.
Snow went up 17-16, but Airi Miyabe boomed a kill to tie it up.
The Badgers wouldn’t score again.
Jovana Vukcevic put the Golden Eagles up 18-17 to set up Morgan Weatherwax’s final serve.
The end of the match was relatively anticlimactic — Snow handed CSI the final point on a bad set.
The Golden Eagles didn’t care how it ended. When the whistle blew, they fell to the floor with a mix of exuberance and relief.
“I feel amazing, but I feel like we shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Keohohina-Malina said. “We can take on Snow within three sets, easily.”
Keohohina-Malina finished with 16 kills and 3 blocks, Peleras finished with 11 kills and seven blocks, Kruize had 11 kills and 21 digs and Weatherwax dished out 46 assists.
CSI (2-0 in conference) returned home on Monday for a nonconference match against Treasure Valley CC.