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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A trio of Virginia softball players, including seniors Nicole Koren and Sarah Tacke and freshman Melanie Mitchell, were each named first team all-region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), the organization announced Thursday.

This marks the first time in program history Virginia has been represented by three players on the first team. Three Cavaliers – Jenn Wynn (first team), Elea Crockett (second team) and Sara Larquier (second team) – were all-region selections in 2005, the last time a Virginia player was honored.

The 2001 season was the only time UVa had more than one player selected to the first team, as Kristen Dennis and Ruby Rojas both earned the accolade.

In the circle, Mitchell, a White Plains, Md., native has a 26-16 record to go along with a 2.67 ERA. She is third in the ACC with 280 strikeouts, and her 77 strikeouts looking are the most in the league. Mitchell, also a first-team all-conference selection, is one win shy of tying the Virginia school record for wins in a season; Lisa Palmer holds the mark, set in 1988, when she won 27 games as a junior.

Tacke, who hails from Merced, Calif., has started all year in right field and leads Virginia at the plate this season with a .362 batting average, good enough for fourth in the ACC. She also has contributed 10 doubles, 10 home runs and a team-best 42 RBI.

Koren, a native of Warminster, Pa., has excelled in the lineup as the designated player, batting .308 with a team-leading 12 home runs. She also has contributed 31 RBI and a squad-best 34 runs.

Both Tacke and Koren were named to the all-ACC second team last week.

Virginia (33-21) will make its NCAA Tournament debut at 4 p.m. Friday against Louisville in Knoxville, Tenn.

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