Blue Hens Rally To Shock Seahawks
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Senior Alissa Aiker recorded 15 kills and junior Katie Hank added 12 to lead Delaware to a 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 24-18, 25-17, 15-10) come-from-behind victory over UNCW in Colonial Athletic Association volleyball action Friday at Hanover Hall.
The Blue Hens improved to 7-11 overall and 2-1 in CAA play as they picked up their fourth straight victory. The Seahawks moved to 7-12 and 0-4 with the five-set defeat.
"The loss is tough, but as a team I think we have to walk away with some confidence knowing we competed well against a top CAA team," said UNCW Head Coach Amy Bambenek. "We worked hard on our defense this past week in practice and felt we did a tremendous job digging tonight. Offensively we had more kills than Delaware, but made to many errors in crunch time."
Aiker and Hank combined to post 27 of the Blue Hens 48 kills in the match as freshman Katie Hillman chipped in nine spikes and senior Chelsea Lawrence pitched in six kills to go along with a match-high 13 total blocks. Freshman setter Mackenzie Olsen dished out 41 assists and added 11 digs to record the double-double. Freshman Ariel Shonk led four Blue Hens with double-figure digs as she tallied a match-high 29 bumps.
Sophomore Morgan Kline notched 14 kills and sophomore Sarah Fitzgerald added 13 for the Seahawks. Senior Natalie Lahaie dished out 23 assists and added nine digs while freshman Victoria Phillips posted 18 assists and 12 digs for her first career double-double. Kline paced four UNCW players in double figure digs with 19 to post her team-leading fifth double-double of the season.
In a tight first set that featured a total of nine ties and six lead changes, a Delaware service error with the score tied at 16-all led UNCW to a 5-2 spurt and a 21-18 advantage. Back-to-back attack errors would bring the Blue Hens within one, 21-20, but kills by Kline and Fitzgerald sparked the Seahawks to score four of the last five points of the frame and a 25-21 victory.
UNCW would maintain its momentum early in the second set, scoring six of the first seven points of the frame to take an early 6-1 lead. Delaware would battle back, using a 10-4 spurt midway through the frame to build a 17-14 advantage, only to see the Seahawks to respond with seven of the next eight points to go ahead, 21-18. The Blue Hens would pull within two, 22-20, moments later on a kill by Hank, but UNCW notched the next three points to post a 25-20 triumph and take a 2-0 lead.
With the score tied at 11-all in the third set, Delaware rattled off 10 of the next 13 points to build a 21-14 cushion and cruise to a 25-18 victory.
The Blue Hens continued to mount the comeback early in the fourth set, racing out to a quick 10-4 advantage before the Seahawks battled back, scoring six of nine points to trim the Delaware advantage to 20-17. That would be as close as UNCW would get, however, as the Blue Hens responded with five straight points to record a 25-20 victory and force a fifth set.
Delaware never trailed in the fifth set, breaking a 3-all tie with a 9-4 spurt to take a 12-7 lead. UNCW would pull within three, 13-10, later in the frame when a kill by Aiker and a service ace by Hank would give the Blue Hens a 15-10 decision and the match.
Both teams return to action Sunday with league contests. UNCW entertains Towson in a 1 p.m. match while Delaware is at William & Mary for a 2 p.m. matinee.