Coach Kelley Hartley Hutton got a resounding answer to how her IPFW women's volleyball team would respond to playing in a tight match this season.
IPFW faced multiple game points and overame late-game deficits to win two overtime games as it swept Kent State 25-23, 27-25, 28-26 on Saturday at the Gates Center to conclude the IPFW Invitational.
"It's good to win those close ones," Hutton said. "It's a gut check."
The Mastodons (2-1) in the second game overcame a Golden Flashes' game-point at 24-23 and closed out the game on a 4-1 run to win overtime. In addition, IPFW in the third game fought off a game-point in overtime and went on to complete the sweep.
Hutton said it was important to see her team be able pull out wins in a close games because those are the types of matches she's expects to be in the rest of the season.
"In Division I mid-major volleyball you are not going to blow people off the court," she said. "You have to win the close ones and be composed in pressure situations."
Libero Tessa McGill said competing in these types of matches early in the season is valuable for the team. The senior also said she has come to enjoy these types of tight matches.
"I like playing in the pressure and some of my teammates do as well," McGill said. "I like playing close games and that's what it's going to be like all season. It's fun."
McGill had a match-high 19 digs in the victory against Kent State (1-2).
McGill led all players in each of the Mastodons' three matches at the IPFW Invitational. In addition, McGill finished with a tournament-best 68 digs and was selected to the All-Tournament Team.
Middle attacker Jessie Manwaring also earned All-Tournament honors after having 12 kills and a team-high .529 attack percentage against Kent State.
Manwaring was one of two Mastodons to have at least 10 kills in the tournament finale. Outside attacker Emily Spencer had a match-high 18 kills -- the third consecutive match she led the team in kills.
With the victory against Golden Flashes, the Mastodons finished their home tournament in second place. IPFW opened the tournament sweeping Murrary State on Friday but lost in three games to the tournament champions Cleveland State on Saturday afternoon.
"For our first weekend we played really well overall, but we have a lot of work to do before we play in the Summit League," McGill said.
IPFW will conclude its season opening four-match homestand with a match against Ball State at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Ball State last season defeated IPFW in four games. The Cardinals also in 2011 advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 10 years.
"They are a very, very good volleyball team," Hutton said. We're going to need to be firing on all cyclinders."