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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The third-ranked and third-seeded Virginia field hockey team (16-2, 3-2 ACC) plays host to the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship this week at the University Hall Turf Field. The Cavaliers will take on sixth-seeded Duke (9-9, 0-5 ACC) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the second game of the tournament.

Fourth-seeded Wake Forest (11-5, 2-3) and fifth-seeded Boston College (13-5, 1-4) open the event at 1 p.m. Thursday. The Virginia-Duke winner will advance to play second-seeded North Carolina (16-1, 4-1) at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the semfinals. The Boston College-Wake Forest winner will face top-seeded Maryland (18-0, 5-0) at 4 p.m. Friday in the other semifinal game. The two semifinal winners will meet in the championship at noon Sunday which will be broadcast live on the ACC’s regional sports network. First round and semifinal games of the ACC Championship will be available on-demand on ACC Select.

Virginia finished the regular season with a 16-2 record, with the team’s only losses coming to No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 North Carolina (in overtime). The team’s two losses this season tie the fewest losses in the regular season in program history. In 1997, the Cavaliers also had two regular season losses (to Old Dominion and UNC). That year, UVa hosted its first and only NCAA regional, made its first (of two) national semifinal appearance, and went on to finish 19-3.

UVa is 14-26 all-time in the ACC Tournament dating back to 1983 and 3-3 in the conference championship under Michele Madison. In her three previous seasons, UVa won its first round game but lost in the semifinals.Last year in Durham, Virginia defeated Duke 5-2 in the first round before falling to eventual champion Maryland 3-2 in overtime. Virginia has never won an ACC Tournament championship; North Carolina (16 times), Maryland (seven) and Wake Forest (three) are the only schools that have claimed the crown.

Virginia will be playing host to the ACC Tournament for the sixth time. The other years the event was held in Charlottesville include 2003, 1998, 1994, 1988 and 1984.

UVa is coming off a victory over 14th-ranked Duke 2-1 Saturday in the final regular season game of the year. The Cavaliers earned the come-from-behind win on Michelle Vittese’s game winner, assisted by Paige Selenski. Selenski scored the first goal which tied the game at one early in the second half, with Vittese assisting on the score. Seniors Lauren Elstein and Traci Ragukas were honored following the game for their contributions to the program.

Duke finished the regular season with a 9-9 record, including an 0-5 mark in the conference to earn the No. 6 seed. Amie Survilla leads the Blue Devils with 20 goals this season. Teammate Susan Ferger has eight scores to go along with four assists while Lauren Miller has five goals and five assists. Stefanie Fee also leads Duke with a team-best seven helpers. Goalkeeper Samantha Nelson has a 2.13 goals against average in addition to a .682 save percentage in the cage this season.

Virginia owns a 26-15 advantage over the Blue Devils in the all-time series between the two teams. Last year, the Cavaliers claimed both meetings, a 4-3 win in Durham in the final game of the regular season, and a 5-2 victory in the first round of the ACC Tournament, also held at Duke. The last Blue Devil win was a 3-1 decision in Durham in 2006. UVa is 5-3 all-time against Duke in the ACC Tournament.

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