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Feb. 8, 2007

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia softball team opens the 2007 season by competing in the four-team, three-day Best Western Invitational at the USF Softball Field in Tampa, Fla., Feb. 9-11. UVa will also play host South Florida in the tournament.

The Cavaliers’ first game of the season is against Western Kentucky at 10 a.m. Friday (Feb. 9). Virginia will also play Arkansas at 12:30 p.m. Friday. On Saturday (Feb. 10), UVa takes on South Florida at 12:30 p.m. to finish up round robin play. Virginia will play again at either 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The tournament concludes on Sunday (Feb. 11) with the consolation and championship games at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively.

The Cavaliers are under the direction of second-year head coach Karen Johns. UVa finished the 2006 season with a 29-26 overall record and a 7-13 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In the 2007 ACC Preseason Coaches Poll, Virginia has been picked seventh.

“We are excited to get the season started,” said Johns. “The team has worked hard in the off season and they are ready to see how they will measure up to the great competition they will face.”

All of Virginia’s games in the tournament can be followed via gametracker at

South Florida, which finished the 2006 season with a 50-25 record, is ranked in two top 25 polls. The Bulls are ranked 22nd in the USAToday/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 Poll and 23rd in the Softball Preseason Poll. Virginia has never played South Florida in softball.

Arkansas finished the 2006 season with a 26-35 record and is coached by Jamie Pinkerton. Pinkerton was an assistant softball coach at UVa from 1998 to 2000. UVa is 0-2 all-time against Arkansas.

Western Kentucky was 29-28 in 2006 and finished third in the Sun Belt Conference with an 8-7 record. The Cavaliers are 0-1 all-time vs. Western Kentucky.

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