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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Virginia head field hockey coach Michele Madison has unveiled the 2008 University of Virginia schedule. The Cavaliers will play 19 regular season games, including 12 at home, before competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Nov. 6-9. The season kicks off Aug. 29 against William & Mary at the University Hall Turf Field.

“Home sweet home: there is no better place to play this power schedule,” Madison said. “The team will need the fans to pack the stands and cheer us through the non-conference schedule en route to the ACC schedule. Without a doubt, 2008 will be an exciting and action-packed thriller!”

Virginia will play 10 opponents that participated in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, including defending national champion North Carolina. Old Dominion, James Madison, Ohio, Boston University, Maryland, Iowa, Penn State, Wake Forest and Duke also played in the national tournament a year ago.

After playing the Tribe in the season opener, UVa continues its four-game homestand against Providence, Vermont and Old Dominion before hitting the road Sept. 10 to battle in-state rival James Madison.

Another swing of home games begins Sept. 13 with Kent State followed by contests with Louisville, Virginia Commonwealth and Ohio. The Cavaliers take to the road again to play at Boston College and Boston University Sept. 26 and 28, respectively. The matchup with the Eagles marks the first of five conference games.

“The ACC finished No. 1 in the conference power rankings, again acing all 2007 RPI categories,” Madison said. “We needed the toughest non-conference schedule possible to prepare for our ACC foes.”

Maryland comes to Charlottesville Oct. 4 and Wake Forest will be in town Oct. 25. Virginia plays on the road at UNC (Oct. 18) and Duke (Nov. 1) before the Blue Devils play host to the annual ACC Tournament.

“Look out for an exciting finish down the stretch with the ACC championship on the line,” Madison continued. “All eyes are on the defending national champion Tar Heels. The most unpredictable and unknown are the youth-stocked Cavaliers and Blue Devils. BC returns the most experienced team with a vengeance as it was edged out of the NCAA selections and perennial powers Wake Forest and Maryland are always in the mix.”

Oct. 11 and 12 will be a key non-conference weekend, as UVa will take on Iowa and Penn State in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions knocked the Cavaliers out of the NCAA Tournament a year ago with a 3-2 first-round victory and went on to play UNC for the national championship. In 2006, it was the Virginia that knocked off the Hawkeyes in the NCAA Tournament en route to a quarterfinal appearance.

NCAA regional play is set for Nov. 15-16 at campus sites while the national semifinals are scheduled for Nov. 21-23 in Louisville, Ky.

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