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IPFW keeps offense balanced to get conference victory vs. IUPUI

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 5:13 am

It took IPFW women's volleyball coach Kelley Hartley Hutton a matter of seconds after she first glanced at the final box score to point out just how balanced her team had been on offense during its victory Tuesday.

IPFW had four players finish with double-digit kills as it rallied from an opening-game loss to defeat IUPUI 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 in its Summit League home opener at the Gates Center.

Outside attacker Emily Spencer led IPFW (11-3, 1-1 Summit League) with 14 kills. In addition, outside attackers Kendall Wienkes and Haley Emenhiser each had 13 kills, while middle attacker Jessie Manwaring added 10 kills against IUPUI (8-6, 2-1 Summit League).

Hutton said that throughout the last couple matches she has placed an emphasis on having the Mastodons run a more balanced offense that evenly distributes sets among multiple players. The coach also said the type of offensive performance IPFW had against IUPUI is what it will need to have the entire conference season.

"It's vital. If we lean on one person the other team knows and then that person has a bad day, that's a problem," Hutton said. "We have the horses to distribute an offense fairly evenly and we did that."

This was the second time this season that the Mastodons had four players finish with at least 10 kills in a match that went fewer than five games.

Wienkes said the team enjoys not having to heavily rely on one or two players to be offensively successful. She also said running this type of offense makes it more challenging for the opposing teams to stop.

"We are continuing to get better all season," Wienkes said. "We have little things to work on. We go into practice and work hard, and I think it showed [Tuesday]."

With this victory, IPFW avoids dropping to 0-2 in conference play after losing its Summit League opener to Oakland in five games last week.

Both Hutton and Wienkes said being able to comeback from that loss and defeat IUPUI was important, especially with this match being played at the Gates Center.

"Protecting your home base in this league is important because the travel is so brutal," Hutton said. "Last thing you want is to go down two matches to start the year. At 1-1 I still think we are in good shape. There is a lot of season left."

Along with the team's offensive performance against IUPUI, libero Tessa McGill had a match-high 29 digs.

It was the ninth match this season that McGill recorded more than 20 digs. In addition, the 29 digs during the four-game win will improve McGill's 6.20 digs-per-game average, which was the second highest in the nation entering Tuesday's match.

IPFW outhit IUPUI .231 to .193, including having a match-best .389 attack percentage in the fourth game to clinch the victory. Both teams also finished the match with 10 blocks.

IUPUI middle attacker and Bishop Dwenger graduate Bethany Fogler had a match-high six blocks in the loss.

Hutton said one of the biggest adjustments IPFW made following its opening-game loss was avoiding Fogler's block in the middle of the court and hitting more of its kill attempts along the sidelines.

Following this home match, IPFW will return to the road to continue Summit League play with matches against South Dakota on Friday and Kansas City on Sunday.

"It's a tough trip. It's our longest trip of the year," Hutton said. "Those are two really tough matches so we got some work to do."