NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware volleyball team fought off seven match points in the fifth set but could not compete the comeback as the Blue Hens dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to UNCW Friday afternoon at the Bob Carpenter Center.

The Seahawks posted the win by game scores of 25-18, 21-25, 25-18, 20-25, 19-17 as UNCW improved to 18-9 overall and 7-6 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Blue Hens, who suffered their seventh consecutive defeat, dropped to 11-16 overall and 3-10 in league play.

Delaware was led by a pair of freshmen, as fellow rookies Autumn Jenkins and Kali Funk each had big matches for the Blue Hens. Jenkins led all players with 17 kills to set her career-high for the second straight contest, and also added 14 digs as she posted the first double-double of her career. Funk also had a career day for UD, setting her personal bests with 51 assists and 22 digs.

The Blue Hens put four players in double figure kills, as Katie Hillman added 12 kills while Chandler Bryant and Katie Hank contributed 10 apiece. Ariel Shonk made a match-high 33 digs for Delaware as she moved into 10th place on the UD single season digs list with 606 for the year.

Nicole Lott paced the Seahawk attack with 13 kills against no attack errors, while Morgan Kline contributed 11 kills for UNCW. Alyssa Desjardins handed out 29 assists for the Seahawks, while Haley Collins made 26 digs.

Delaware jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first set, but after the Seahawks battled back to knot the game at 15-15, they closed the period with a 10-3 run to take a one-set lead.

The teams were knotted at 18-18 in the second set, before the Blue Hens took the next two points and led the rest of the way, putting the set away on a Chandler Bryant kill.

UNCW used a 9-2 spurt early in the third set and led by at least four points from there, but Delaware closed the fourth game with a 7-2 run to force a deciding fifth set.

The Seahawks never trailed in the fifth set, and looked to put the set away when UNCW took a 14-10 advantage. However the Blue Hens battled back with four straight points, including the final two on Jenkins kills, to pull even. Delaware then staved off three more match points, before UNCW took the final two points to clinch the victory.

“I thought we were really good defensively against a team with a good kill percentage and features quality hitters,” said Blue Hen head coach Bonnie Kenny. “We dug the ball really well, and it was nice to put four players in double figure kills. We just have to find a way to bounce back tomorrow.”

Match Notes:
• Delaware played its 10th five-set match of the season
Kori Reigel made a season-high 12 digs for the Blue Hens
• Delaware’s 98 digs was the team’s second highest total of the season
• UNCW held a 12-7 block advantage
• UD closes out its 2013 season on Saturday when the Hens host the College of Charleston at 7 p.m.