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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia women’s tennis team begins its 2008-09 season this weekend as it travels to Athens, Ga. for the Bulldog Invitational. The tournament will run from Friday to Sunday at the Dan Magill Tennis Center and features Georgia, Duke, Ole Miss, Indiana, TCU and Wake Forest, along with the Cavaliers.

This year’s Cavalier squad consists of three veterans and four newcomers. Junior Jennifer Stevens (Miami, Fla.) and senior Amanda Rales (Bethesda, Md.) are both ranked in the preseason ITA rankings (No. 68 and No. 106 respectively in singles and No. 48 together in doubles). Senior Maggie Yahner (Las Vegas, Nev.) also returns from last year’s lineup and is joined by Purdue transfer Neela Vaez (Perrysburg, Ohio) and first-years Claire Bartlett (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Lindsey Hardenbergh (Fairfax Station, Va.) and Emily Fraser (Rye, N.Y.).

“We are extremely excited to begin our competitive season this weekend in Athens, GA,” said head coach Mark Guilbeau. “This tournament will mark the beginning of a great season ahead. Our schedule is very strong – it will simultaneously challenge and provide great opportunities for our team and each of the individual players. We believe this is as strong and committed of a group as we have had at the University of Virginia. It is a pleasure to work with them and exciting to see them carry their preparation into competitive play this weekend.”

The tournament is the first event of a challenging 2008-09 schedule. The fall season is highlighted by the ITA National Indoor Championships, hosted by Virginia at the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in November. The complete 2008-09 schedule is available by clicking here.

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