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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia field hockey team opens the 2010 campaign this weekend in the state of Pennsylvania. The Cavaliers will face off against Saint Joseph’s at 11 a.m. Saturday at Temple University in Philadelphia before battling Penn State at noon Sunday in University Park, Pa. Live stats for both games will be linked on

The Cavaliers are coming off a season in which they set school records for wins (24) and returned to the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 1998. From that squad, eight starters are back, including the NFHCA South Region Player of the Year Paige Selenski, who led Virginia with 27 goals. Fellow junior Michelle Vittese (six goals, nine assists) and sophomore Tara Puffenberger (10 goals) also return up front.

Vittese, a midfielder, is joined by senior Haley Carpenter, junior Rachel Jennings, and senior Taylor Swezey, each with plenty of experience under their belts. In the backfield, senior Shelly Edmonds is back along with all-region goalkeeper Kim Kastuk, who ended the 2009 season with a 0.97 goals against average and eight shutouts.

The Cavaliers were picked to finish third in the ACC preseason poll, as voted on by the head coaches. Selenski and Vittese were also named to the 11-member preseason All-ACC team. Virginia was ranked third in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) preseason poll, released Tuesday.

In its only preseason match, Virginia defeated James Madison, 3-1. Newcomer Elly Buckley scored twice and dished an assist while Puffenberger contributed a goal and an assist in the winning effort.

Saint Joseph’s went 7-11 including a 4-2 mark in conference play last year and opens its 2010 schedule against UVa. The Hawks lost at Cal 3-0 in a preseason scrimmage but return leading scorer Ellen Rown, a junior, who notched nine scores a season ago. Senior Hannah Rodgers scored six times and contributed three assists while classmate Jen Wrublesky also recorded six scores.

Saint Joseph’s also welcomes back goalkeeper Kelly Swanick, a redshirt junior, who played in all 18 games last season. She finished with a 2.79 goals against average and tallied five shutouts.

Virginia is 3-1 all-time against the Hawks. The last time the two teams met was back in 1995, a 2-1 overtime victory at home.

Penn State will play host to Old Dominion Friday in its opener before facing the Cavaliers on Sunday. The Nittany Lions finished the 2009 season with a 7-13 record, including a 1-5 mark in conference play. PSU lost 3-1 at Maryland in a preseason scrimmage but welcome back sophomore Kelsey Amy, who led the squad as a freshman a year ago. Amy scored eight goals while also leading the team in shots. Redshirt sophomore Hannah Allison and junior Jessica Longstreth each contributed five goals and two assists.

Goalkeeper Ali Meves returns for her senior campaign in the cage; she recorded a 2.36 goals against average and a .725 save percentage a year ago.

The Cavaliers trail in the all-time series with Penn State, 13-4, but were victorious last season in Charlottesville, 1-0.

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