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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Virginia head coach Eileen Schmidt revealed the 2008 softball schedule, which features games with 11 teams who participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Three of those teams Arizona State, national semifinalist Northwestern and national runner-up Tennessee advanced to the Women’s College World Series. Schmidt is in her first season at the helm of the Virginia program.

The Cavaliers return 10 letterwinners from the 2007 squad and welcome eight newcomers to the roster. Last season, Virginia posted an overall record of 17-39 and went 1-20 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

“We are excited about the schedule this season,” Schmidt said. “The first tournament in Arizona will pit us against some great teams right out of the gate. It will be an exciting and challenging way to start the year.”

Virginia will see two WCWS teams in the opening tournament of the season. The Cavaliers begin play Feb. 15 in Tempe, Ariz., against NCAA Tournament participant Southern Utah. The squad will also face the host Sun Devils, Oklahoma State, Northwestern and Western Michigan.

The Cavaliers will then play in the Tennessee Tournament in Knoxville, Tenn., Feb. 22-24. That event features the national runners-up Lady Vols as well as Louisiana-Monroe, Brigham Young, who was a NCAA Tournament team a year ago, and Wagner College.

Virginia has 12 games in 10 days over spring break on a trip that begins in Jacksonville, Fla. The Cavaliers will face host Jacksonville, North Florida, Stony Brook and Coastal Carolina Feb. 29 through March 1, before heading up to Atlanta for the ACC opener at Georgia Tech March 3. The Yellow Jackets were one of five league teams to make the NCAA Tournament last spring.

After two days off, UVa will travel to Louisville, Ky., for the Red and Black Tournament March 7-9, featuring host and NCAA Tournament participant Louisville, IUPUI and Bradley.

Virginia returns home from spring break to play its next month at home, beginning March 12 with a doubleheader against in-state rival James Madison. During the 16-game homestand, the Cavaliers also will face off against conference foes Florida State (March 14-15) and NC State (March 29-30), two 2007 NCAA Tournament teams. Other non-conference opponents in March include Radford, Georgetown, Rutgers, Ohio and George Mason.

Conference play continues at Virginia Tech, another NCAA Tournament team, April 5-6. The Cavaliers return home to play host to North Carolina April 12-13 in the final home series of the season. Virginia will play at Maryland (April 19-20) before closing out the regular season action at Boston College (April 26-27).

“The ACC is a conference that keeps getting better and better,” Schmidt said. “It is a league where teams can move up or down very quickly. We obviously have our work cut out for us, but it is an exciting feeling to know that any team, any year can elevate to the top.”

The 2008 ACC Tournament is schedule for May 8-11 in College Park, Md., with the Terps serving as the host school.

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