TWIN FALLS — When Bri Barta joined the College of Southern Idaho volleyball team, there was a slight adjustment that had to be made.
Having been a setter and a hitter coming out of Centennial High School in Boise, upon joining the Golden Eagles, Barta transitioned fully to a setter. Now, with a NJCAA national title to her name, the Meridian native is taking the next step.
On Tuesday, Barta signed a letter of intent to join The College of Idaho volleyball team next season, making her allegiance to the Yotes official.
“Always happy to see when things work out,” head coach Jim Cartisser said. “She’ll go to College of Idaho now, focus on her setting, and it’s going to be a great situation for her.”
Barta had considered University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but due to a coaching change, her final two choices were The College of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College.
All signs pointed to the former, though.
Barta wanted a school close to home so her family could watch her play, and The College of Idaho checked that box. Barta hoped to study nursing, and The College of Idaho checked that box.
The tip of the iceberg is the fact that the number of Golden Eagles who have become Yotes is high enough that Cartisser can’t actually remember the exact figure. That’s in large part down to head coach Liz Mendiola, a former CSI player herself.
“That coach was really good friends with the coaches at CSI,” Barta said. “I knew that, going into that program, I was going to have the same kind of feel that I did at CSI. She tries to run her program similar to CSI’s, so immediately I just felt comfortable.”
Barta said playing for CSI has “changed a lot” for her, helping to make strides as a volleyball player. Her development at CSI has been impressive, and has a lot to do with her switch to setter, Cartisser added.
The coach said the opportunity to center her focus on one major aspect of the game worked wonders for the talented redshirt freshman.
“She had a ton of growth in the amount of time she was here,” Cartisser said. “Usually, when you have a good athlete and a kid who’s highly motivated, you give them that opportunity. It usually works out and it did for her.”
On top of all the excitement for Barta, who joins the Yotes on scholarship, she’s doing so on the back of that national title, won by the Golden Eagles in November.
Cartisser said she’ll have that championship for the rest of her life, but assuming the Yotes go to the national tournament as they do often, she could get another crack at a title.
He added that it’ll be familiar to her, and a situation in which she should shine.
“It’s something I’d been working toward ever since I came to CSI so it was an awesome feeling to do that,” Barta said. “It definitely gives you a lot of confidence going into your next steps in life.
“I’m excited to go to College of Idaho for that reason, especially because I know they make it to nationals a lot. It would be cool to get back to another national tournament with them and try my best to get another national title.”
On Tuesday, CSI announced that the late Heidi Cartisser will be inducted into the Colege of Southern Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame.
Cartisser coached the Golden Eagles volleyball for 12 seasons, leading them to three NJCAA national titles. She compiled a 359-89 overall record and was a four-time recipient of the Region 18 Coach of the Year honor, as well as a three-time recipient of the NJCAA Coach of the Year award. She passed away in December of 2017.
There will be a dinner at the Turf Club on Friday at 6 p.m. On Saturday, at halftime of the men’s basketball team’s game, which starts at 5 p.m., there will be an induction ceremony for Cartisser.
The CSI men’s basketball team dropped six spots in the latest NJCAA poll, falling from No. 13 to No. 19 after going 1-1 on a two-game road stand in Utah.
The Golden Eagles got their first conference win of the season over Snow College on Jan. 10, but fell at Utah State University Eastern two days later.
CSI (16-5, 1-2) will host Colorado Northwestern Community College on Saturday.