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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia softball team (3-1) heads to the 2009 Louisville Slugger Desert Classic for six games this weekend in Las Vegas. The Cavaliers are off to a 3-1 start in their first four games for the first time since the 2004 campaign.

Virginia will begin play in the 20-team tournament at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time Thursday against Brigham Young (4-2) at UNLV’s Eller Media Stadium. Immediately following the BYU-Virginia game will be the Cavaliers against Southern Utah (1-4).

Play continues Friday with Saint Louis (0-0) at 11:15 a.m. PST and South Dakota State (1-3) at 1:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Cavaliers are set to face Cal-Fullerton (1-0) at 3:45 p.m. before wrapping up tournament play at 9 a.m. Sunday against Louisville (5-0).

Brigham Young and Louisville are each receiving votes in both of the national polls released Tuesday.

“No weekend is bigger than any other at this point, but we are going to see a good mixture of competition from different areas of the country,” Virginia head coach Eileen Schmidt said of the weekend. “We are going to have to step up if we want to do really well out there. If we just continue to play as hard as we played (last) Sunday, we are going to be fine.”

Virginia is coming off a 3-1 season-opening weekend at East Carolina’s Pirate Invitational last week in Greenville, N.C. The Cavaliers defeated Middle Tennessee 6-3 and 7-2 and split with East Carolina, losing 9-1 on Saturday before defeating the Pirates 12-1 on Sunday. Sophomore Nicole Koren led Virginia at the plate with a .545 average on the weekend. She was 6-of-11 with seven RBI and she also hit her first career home run Sunday against Middle Tennessee.

Senior Karla Wilburn picked up two wins in the circle for the Orange and Blue. Both were complete game victories as Wilburn allowed just two earned runs while fanning 12 on the weekend.

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