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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Eight matches against 2008 NCAA Tournament participants and four pre-conference tournaments, including two at Memorial Gymnasium, highlight the 2009 Virginia volleyball schedule released today.

The schedule will feature 14 home matches, including contests against NCAA Tournament participants Clemson, Duke and North Carolina, and will provide numerous tests for the Cavaliers, as they look to use nine returners and the 15th-ranked recruiting class in the nation to improve on last season’s record 17-15.

“Every season, our objective is to compete for an ACC Championship and earn a post-season berth,” head coach Lee Maes said. “In preparation for conference play, it was important for us to challenge our squad against some of the best teams in the country. We feel we’ve done that with our scheduling. Two traits of a nationally prominent team is its ability to sustain competitive excellence over time and positively respond to stress on the road. Our team will be challenged in that regard when we compete in two of the nation’s best volleyball atmospheres, playing at Texas A&M and Nebraska. We will also host two preseason tournaments that will feature a number of top regional teams. UVa fans will have 14 home opportunities to closely witness drama-filled action on every point. We are anxious for the upcoming season and excited to give our players an opportunity to grow and challenge themselves in order to reach our team goals.”

Virginia will open the 2009 season in College Station, Texas, taking on Northern Iowa, Texas A&M and Iona on Aug. 28-29, before returning home to host the Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup on Sept 4-5. The four-team event will feature contests against NC Central, in-state rival VCU and Campbell.

The highlight of the non-conference schedule comes the following weekend, as the Cavaliers travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Ameritas Players Challenge, held on Sept 10-12. Maes will face off against his former team in last year’s national semifinals, Nebraska – where he was an assistant coach before coming to Virginia. In addition, the tournament includes traditional power BYU and 2008 NCAA Tournament participant UCLA.

Virginia will then begin conference play on Sept 18, when Virginia Tech visits Mem Gym as part of a two-day tournament with Villanova and Albany, marking the finale of the non-conference portion of the schedule, as well.

The Cavaliers will continue ACC play with their next two weekends on the road, facing Miami (Sept. 25), Florida State (Sept. 27), Duke (Oct. 2) and Wake Forest (Oct. 3), before returning home for two-straight weekends. Virginia will host NC State (Oct. 9), North Carolina (Oct. 11), Clemson (Oct. 16) and Georgia Tech (Oct. 17) in that span, before heading north to Maryland (Oct. 23) and Boston College (Oct. 24) for matches.

Florida State (Oct. 30) and Miami (Nov. 1) will visit Charlottesville the following weekend to begin the second half of conference play. Virginia will then head to North Carolina to face the Tar Heels (Nov. 6) and Wolfpack (Nov. 8), before hosting its final regular-season home contests against Wake Forest (Nov. 13) and Duke (Nov. 14).

Virginia will close out its schedule with matches at Georgia Tech (Nov. 20) and Clemson (Nov. 21), before the regular season finale at Virginia Tech on Nov. 25.

Season and individual match tickets will go on sale in August.

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