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Charlottesville, Va. – Coming off the most successful season in school history, the Virginia women’s golf team opens its 2009-10 season this weekend at the Women’s Collegiate Match Play Championship. This year’s event takes place at Daytona Beach’s LPGA International Sept. 6-8.

The 16-team field, which will play on LPGA’s Legends Course, includes eight of the top 24 teams as ranked in the 2009-10 Golf World/NGCA Pre-Season Coaches Poll including top-10 teams Alabama, Auburn, Virginia and Duke.

The remainder of the field includes:Central Florida, Chattanooga, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Georgia State, Kent State, LSU, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and TCU.

Third-year coach Kim Lewellen’s lineup features junior Calle Nielson (Nashville, Tenn.), senior Whitney Neuhauser (Barboursville, Va.), junior Joy Kim (Duluth, Ga.), freshman Nicole Agnello (Longwood, Fla.) and freshman Brittany Altomare (Shrewsbury, Mass.). Sophomore Eleana Collins (Pinehurst, N.C.) will compete in the match play events.

Last year Nielson placed sixth at the NCAA Championships, leading UVa to a best-ever eighth-place finish in the team standings. She earned All-America and All-ACC honors along with Neuhauser. Kim is the third returner who competed at the NCAAs for the Cavaliers.

Virginia placed seventh in the 16-team field at the 2008 Match Play Championship. The Cavaliers were second after 36 holes of stroke play with Nielson finishing third among the individual competitors.

This year’s championship begins on Day One (Sept. 6) when all 16 teams will compete in a 36 Hole Stroke Play Competition. The results of this competition will be used to seed teams 1-16 for the Match Play Competition with the top eight competing in the Championship Bracket.

Match play competition begins on Sept. 7 with two 18-hole matches followed by the Championship Final on Sept. 8. The event is the only match play championship on the collegiate schedule.

The National Golf Coaches Association, founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization representing women’s collegiate golf coaches. The NGCA was formed to encourage the playing of college golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition.

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