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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia head softball coach Eileen Schmidt has announced that Heidi Freitager has been promoted to associate head coach and former Cavalier standout Sarah Tacke has joined the staff as a volunteer assistant.

Freitager, now in her fourth season in Charlottesville, mentors the Virginia pitchers and catchers in addition to spearheading all recruiting efforts. She guided hurler Melanie Mitchell to first-team all-region and first-team all-conference honors in 2010. As a freshman, Mitchell also tied the program record for wins in a season and was second among ACC pitchers in strikeouts.

“Heidi is an outstanding coach and we are fortunate to have her in our program,” Schmidt said. “She has been instrumental in the development of the pitching staff and has made a strong impact in our recruiting. Our program is on the verge of being a consistent competitor nationally now that we have increased the talent and depth, and Heidi has played a key role in that. Her dedication on and off the field to our student-athletes, the university and athletics department are never ending. Heidi has made and continues to make a positive impression in all facets and this promotion is well deserved.”

Tacke played at Virginia from 2006-10, redshirting her first year. She led the Cavaliers at the plate her junior and senior seasons in both batting average and RBI. As a senior in 2010, she paced the offense with a .354 average and a team-best 43 RBI in helping Virginia to its first NCAA Tournament berth. That year she was also a first team all-region and second team all-conference honoree. Tacke ranks among Virginia’s top-10 career record holders in home runs, doubles, extra base hits, RBI and walks. She holds the school mark with 37 career hit by pitches.

“It is really great to have Sarah back,” Schmidt said. “She is so steady and grounded. I look forward to watching her grow as a coach; she is going to be a great one. Obviously one of the best hitters to ever play at Virginia, her knowledge base is there. From a standpoint of an alum, it is great to have someone who attended UVa return. It takes a special athlete to be able to balance the rigors of a difficult academic load and still be successful on the field and Sarah was one of those true student-athletes. Her experiences in the classroom combined with the ability to teach on the field are great resources for our student-athletes to connect.”

Tacke received her bachelor’s degree in biology from UVa in 2009 and earned a master’s degree in conservation biology in 2011.

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