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Junior Alexa Martinez and the Virginia softball team returns to the state of North Carolina this weekend when the Cavaliers continue tournament play in East Carolina’s Pirate Classic. UVa heads to Greenville, N.C., to take on Kent State, Saint John’s, Hofstra and the host Pirates. Martinez, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recently caught up with to talk about the season opener, her major and career aspirations and what she likes to do for fun.

Question: How was the first tournament?
We were excited to start the season and actually play some games. We didn’t play as well as we could have but we got the job done. We pulled some hits together in the last two games and hopefully that will give us some momentum going into next weekend.

Question: What will this week be like in preparation for the Pirate Classic next weekend?
Now that we have seen what we need to work on, we will be focusing on our approaches at the plate and ways that we can improve. We need to do a better job of stringing hits together earlier in games.

Question: What is the mentality this year coming off the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance?
Making (NCAA) Regionals last year was a really big accomplishment for the Virginia softball program. The only way it changed our approach for this season is that we know we have to work even harder to prove that it wasn’t just a one-time thing. We are making strides.

Question: What are the team’s biggest strengths right now?
We run the bases really well and we can hit the gaps and force the defense to make plays. We also have a versatile team because we have so many players who can play different positions. And we work hard.

Question: How is the team chemistry this season?
Our team chemistry was good throughout the fall and it’s stronger now that we have started the season and spend a lot more time together. Everyone gets along well. We like to hang out with each other when we’re not at practice, which helps us play together on the field.

Question: What is your major and what are you hoping to do after you graduate from UVa?
I am majoring in kinesiology with a focus in sports medicine. I would really like to go into physical therapy and be able to help athletes who are injured return to competition as quickly as possible.

Question: Have any of your own personal injuries contributed to the decision to major in kinesiology?
Yes. Last year when I sprained my ankle, it was a struggle to get back to playing status. So that has sort of encouraged me to help others.

Question: What has been your favorite class at UVa?
I took an anthropology class last spring. The professor just did a good job of communicating the different ways of looking at the world. We learned about many different cultures.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
I like to play Wii tennis now that I’m at the pro level. I beat Javy (Cynthia Javaras) the most. I also like to bake cookies – chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. From scratch, of course, no fake-and-bakes.

Martinez’s Favorites
Places on Grounds: Clark Library, Old Cabell Hall steps on the Lawn
Food: Avocados
Movie: “Mean Girls”
Book: Any of Chelsea Handler’s books
Color: Green
Place to Travel: Back to Fort Lauderdale to visit my friends and grandparents
Music Artist: Carrie Underwood
Song: “Salt Shaker” by Ying Yang Twins
TV Shows: “Chelsea Lately” and “Top Chef”
Candy: Chewy SweeTARTS and Reese’s

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