"She was there and guided us", Heidi Cartisser's presence felt at NJCAA tournament

Published: Nov. 19, 2018 at 7:06 PM MST
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One year ago, the College of Southern Idaho Volleyball team fell to Miami–Dade in the national championship.

Then a month later, head coach Heidi Cartisser, tragically passed away. Her husband Jim took over the program, with the goal of keeping her legacy and message alive.

Well today the Golden Eagles are back home after winning their 12th national title.

The girls donning national championship T–shirts, casually discussing thanksgiving break plans, which include piercings and tattoos.

An idea coach Jim Cartisser quickly shot down.

The mood is one of joy after getting revenge on Miami–Dade, sweeping them in the national title game on Saturday in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Sophomore outside hitter Sacha Legros explained, "I think everyone was kind of mad, we wanted a revenge and that motivated us more than anything else."

"I think no matter if we were on the bench we wanted just as much as everyone playing." "I think that helped us excel our level of play because everyone wanted it just as much as the next person," said freshman setter Tausha Cummins.

The Golden Eagles swept Laramie County in the first round, then beat Tyler 3–1 in the quarterfinals.

Sophomore middle blocker E'laisah Young said, "Tyler was really good, i feel like they should have been ranked higher than they were."

Friday rolled around, and the girls played Kansas' own Seward County, also going four sets.

Young said, "the harder we had to play, the better we played as a team."

Saturday, the final day of the tournament and for Kylie Baumert, she could feel a special presence with them that night, Heidi Cartisser.

The All-American freshman libero explained, "there's a prayer circle with Miami–Dade, fan circled. She was there and guided us."

Playing for Heidi has been the girls' goal all year long, especially for tournament MVP and future Minnesota Gopher, Airi Miyabe.

"I played for Heidi and Jim and my teammates. I couldn't get the MVP without their support, I want to say thank you," added Miyabe.

The NJCAA inducted the late coach into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.

Athletic director Joel Bate said, "on behalf of Heidi, we accept this. And I invite her parents and everyone to come up here."

A fitting tribute for a coach who recruited these stars of this 2018 national championship team.

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