A year of firsts for the CSI Volleyball program

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) "That's it exactly, it's all of the firsts. It was the first when we went on the retreat, the first practice the first match. I'm not saying it get easier but it's easier to focus on the job itself after you get those first things out of the way."

Jim Cartisser is the new head coach of the College of Southern Idaho's volleyball program, taking the reins from his late wife Heidi.

"I don't think they forget any more than I do, you know? It's just that I have to go home with it every day and they get to be college kids,” Cartisser said. “So when it's time and when it's the right place and time they step up."

The team came back from summer break ready to go.

"Just by living up to the standards that have always been set here. Not coming in and testing if things are going to be easier or different. They always know what the expectations are in practice and matches. How we conduct ourselves. I think they keep her memory alive by doing those things."

Joining Jim on the sidelines is Babe Kalulu who's been a long part-time coach.

“I think having the time away at home is good for them, that separation,” Cartisser said. “Coming back to a new coaching staff-semi-new with the addition on Babes Kalulu who’s always been involved with our program since we’ve been here in one way or another. Just being able to bring her back on full-time gives that uniquely female perspective that I think a coaching staff that coaches women need to have.”

Cartisser says Babe isn’t Heidi, but the leadership from a female is a crucial piece to a successful women’s team.

"I have complete comfort with her because she has been with us for so long. I'm not looking over at the other court hoping she's doing it right because I know she is,” Cartisser said.

The Eagles bring great strength in numbers this year.

“We’re just lucky this year we have so much depth at literally every position. We have four middles, four setters, three really good outside, three really good right sides, we have four kids that could all libero. If you look at our lines ups so far this season it’s rare that we’ve ever run the same lineup two games straight.”

Jim’s confident in his team and what they can accomplish, even when communication can be difficult.

“And I think that that’s one of the reasons why I’m so confident this year in what we can accomplish because all of the sophomores, the international sophomores have just grown leaps and bounds in terms of communication.”

There’s only one outcome that could help Jim Cartisser find the good in this situation.

"I hope that we can represent this year and things finish with us getting a ring. You know I think that would be the storybook ending to all of this. The only way that we could...the only way I would want to finish," Cartisser said.

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