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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia softball coach Eileen Schmidt has announced the 2010 schedule which features 23 home games at The Park and 13 games with teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last season.

The Cavaliers return 11 letterwinners from the 2009 team and also welcome six newcomers to the roster. Last year, Virginia compiled an overall record of 25-22 under Schmidt, who enters who third season at her alma mater.

“We can continue to move the program forward in the right way with a schedule of this magnitude,” Schmidt said. “We have established areas such as identity and culture and made improvements to our facility. Our patience has paid off and we are headed in the right direction.”

Of the 13 NCAA Tournament teams from the 2009 campaign, two opponents – Michigan and Arizona – advanced to the Women’s College World Series. The Cavaliers will meet the Wolverines in the opener of the LSU Tournament on Feb. 19 in Baton Rouge and will see the Wildcats in the Judi Garman Invitational in March 21 in Fullerton, Calif.

Other NCAA opponents Virginia will play against in 2010 include LSU, Oklahoma State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Fresno State, Oklahoma, James Madison and Radford, in addition to ACC foes North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Florida State.

“This team wants to play on a national stage,” Schmidt said. “This schedule will allow us to showcase how much we have grown and gauge where we are in relation to the top teams.”

The Cavaliers open the season Feb. 13 at the Elon Tournament in Elon, N.C., in a three-team round-robin format that includes UNC Wilmington, Elon and Virginia.

Virginia will play in the LSU Tournament Feb. 19-21, which includes NCAA opponents Michigan, LSU and Oklahoma State, before playing host to the Cavalier Invitational Feb. 26-28 at The Park. Teams in the home tournament include Ohio, George Washington, Lehigh and the Fighting Irish.

“The early tournaments will have us ready for the ACC games,” Schmidt said. “North Carolina and Georgia Tech had great years last season and Florida State is resurging.”

Conference play begins March 13 at Maryland in College Park, Md. The Cavaliers also face Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Boston College on the road this season. Virginia will play host to the Tar Heels April 2-3, NC State April 17-18 and Florida State May 1-2 in the final series of the year.

The 2009 ACC Tournament will be held at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., May 14-16.

“Our goal, no matter what team we are playing or what time of year, is to get better everyday.” Schmidt said. “We are young, but at the same time, very strong mentally and more talented than we have ever been. This is a hard-working blue collar group that keeps a good perspective on things.”

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