NEWARK, Del.   --  The University of Delaware volleyball squad battled down to the end Saturday night but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Hens closed out an uncharacteristic 2013 season with a 3-0 loss to league-leading College of Charleston at the Bob Carpenter Center.

College of Charleston (23-5, 13-1 Colonial Athletic Association) won by scores of 25-14, 25-18, 28-26 as the Cougars won for the 13th time in the last 14 matches. Charleston will be the top seed when its hosts the six-team CAA Tournament this weekend.

Delaware finished the season with an 11-17 overall record, a seventh place finish in the CAA with a mark of 3-11, and eight straight setbacks. The perennial CAA power Blue Hens, who featured a young lineup that included 11 freshmen and sophomores, suffered their first losing  season since 2005.

“We took better care of the ball tonight, but we just didn’t terminate,” said Delaware head coach Bonnie Kenny. “They are a pretty good hitting team and they terminate at a high level. We just don’t have the horses to answer that right now. I was proud that we fought tonight and was happy to see us show some resiliency in the third game. This is unchartered territory for us (not making the CAA Tournament). We have a lot of freshmen who don’t quite know yet what it takes to win a championship. It’s hard, but hopefully they got seasoned this year.”

Sophomore Katie Hillman led the Blue Hens with a team-high 10 kills and seven digs while senior Katie Hank (at right), playing in her final match for the Blue Hens along with Kori Reigel, contributed eight kills and three digs. Kali Funk added 22 assists, Mackenzie Olsen had 10 assists, and Reigel contributed six digs.

Hank and Reigel were honored in a pre-game Senior Night ceremony. The two led the Blue Hens to a four-year record of 74-50, including CAA Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011 and a CAA Tournament runner-up finish in 2012.

Darcy Dorton led Charleston Saturday night with a game-high 17 kills to go with 10 digs while Melissa Morello added 12 kills and nine digs. Kallie McKown added 25 assists and Andi Zbojniewicz contributed 12 digs.

Charleston jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first set and won going away by a 25-14 score. In the second set, Delaware tied the score at 11-11 but the Cougars scored four straight points to take control and win 25-18. The decisive third set featured 14 ties and Delaware had set point at 26-25 before Charleston earned the 28-26 win on an attack error and match-clinching kill by Dorton.