MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The University of Delaware volleyball team took the opening set but West Virginia responded to win the next three as the Mountaineers posted a 3-1 (18-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-17) victory over the Blue Hens in both squads’ season opener Friday night on the first day of the WVU Invitational.

Delaware sophomore Maria Bellinger paced the Blue Hens with 14 kills, while Bailey Pearlman added nine and Corey Perkins contributed seven on the night. Abby Skryd handed out 34 assists in her UD debut, while Daria Robinson made seven blocks and Kori Rasmussen led the defensive effort with 11 digs.

Mia Swanegan led West Virginia with 14 kills and a .545 hitting percentage, while Erin Slinde dished out 36 assists and Gianna Gotterba added 16 digs.

Delaware dropped the opening point of the match, but then raced out to an early 6-2 advantage and led by at least three points the rest of the way to take the one-set lead. After the Mountaineers never trailed in the second frame to knot the match at a set apiece, they broke away from a 17-17 tie in the third with an 8-3 closing run. The Blue Hens trailed by just a point at 9-8 in the fourth set, but West Virginia won seven of the next eight points to pull away.

Head Coach Sara Matthews:

“We have a lot to take from this match. We did some great things, and there are definitely things we need to improve on. I thought our block did a great job setting the tone. We have to work on our defensive mentality being better - we have to be more aggressive going after balls, having a never quit attitude. We flat out have to dig more balls."

"That being said, we have some positive things we can take. I thought Bailey (Pearlman) was really good, both offensively and setting the block. I thought we served really aggressively in the first set. We need to continue to maintain that intensity level throughout an entire match and we will do some good things this season."

Hen Scratchings
• The match marked the head coaching debut for Matthews, who was hired to lead the Blue Hen volleyball program in January
Julia Hayes tied her career-high with three kills
• Delaware held a 10-8 advantage in blocks
• The Blue Hens fell to West Virginia for the first time in five all-time meetings
• UD was facing its first Big 12 opponent since a match against TCU in 2003

Upcoming Schedule:
• Delaware vs. #6 Penn State (WVU Invitational) - Saturday, August 26 (10 a.m.)
• Delaware vs. UT Martin (WVU Invitational) - Saturday, August 26 (4:30 p.m.)

MEDIA INFORMATION: Contact Kevin Tritt | ktritt@udel.edu | Office: 302-831-8715 | Cell: 302-383-5005