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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia announced its 2012 field hockey schedule Thursday. The Cavaliers will face eight NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago and will host at least nine games at the University Hall Turf Field.

Virginia’s opponents that competed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament include Penn State, New Hampshire, Richmond, Duke, Princeton, national semifinalist Old Dominion, national runner-up North Carolina and national champion Maryland.

“Our schedule is tough but the team has big dreams and with big dreams comes hard work,” Virginia head coach Michele Madison said. “The schedule has to bring out the best in us. Getting challenged by tough competition will do that.”

The Cavaliers open the season Aug. 21 with an exhibition game against the United States Under-21 National Team in College Park, Md. The U.S. squad will also play exhibition contests against Penn State and Maryland as it prepares for the Junior Pan American Games.

“It’s a great opportunity for our preparation before our season opener,” Madison said of the exhibition contest.

From there, Virginia travels to Pennsylvania to take on Temple on Aug. 24, the official opener, before competing at Penn State on Aug. 26. The Cavaliers will play their first home game on Aug. 31 vs. Towson.

Atlantic Coast Conference play commences with a trip to the northeast on Sept. 21 to face Boston College. League games against North Carolina (Oct. 13) and Duke (Oct. 27) are also on the road, while Maryland (Sept. 28) and Wake Forest (Oct. 20) will come to Charlottesville.

“The ACC keeps getting stronger as the top recruits come in, and those recruits are coming with international experiences already from their junior national team events,” Madison said. “Also the influx of international recruiting continues to bring last minute surprises to the line-ups. Maryland will be the team to beat again coming off back-to-back national championships.”

Virginia’s seniors will be honored prior to the Oct. 29 contest with Princeton, marking the final regular season home game of the season.

The 2012 ACC Championship, hosted by North Carolina, is slated for Nov. 1-4 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The four NCAA Regionals will take place at campus sites Nov. 10-11 and the national semifinals will be played at Old Dominion Nov. 16 with the title game set for No. 18 in Norfolk, Va.

The Cavaliers return 18 letterwinners from the 2011 squad that finished 8-12 overall. All-Americans and Olympic hopefuls Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittese also return following a redshirt season.

“It will be the first year where we haven’t had a big freshman class,” Madison said. “More importantly, returning 18 letterwinners and two national team players bring excitement to the possibilities. We made valuable tactical advances last spring that will allow us to start in a different place. The journey will be the adventure and full of challenges for sure. I am very proud that our student-athletes are so committed to their dreams and raising the bar for UVa field hockey. A team needs dreams – that’s the only way to make them come true.”

2012 Virginia Field Hockey Schedule

Date Opponent Time Location Aug. 21 USA U-21 National Team
4 p.m.
College Park, Md. Aug. 24
4 p.m.
Philadelphia, Pa. Aug. 26
Penn State
12 p.m.
University Park, Pa. Aug. 31
3 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Sept. 2 Old Dominion 1 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Sept. 7
Michigan State
3 p.m.
East Lansing, Mich. Sept. 8 Northeastern 2 p.m.
East Lansing, Mich. Sept. 11
William & Mary
7 p.m.
Williamsburg, Va. Sept. 15
Miami (Ohio)
11 a.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Sept. 21
Boston College* 7 p.m.
Chestnut Hill, Mass. Sept. 23 Boston University 11 a.m.
Chestnut Hill, Mass. Sept. 28
Maryland* 6 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Sept. 30
Saint Joseph’s
1 p.m. Charlottesville, Va. Oct. 6
12 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Oct. 7
New Hampshire
1 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Oct. 10 Richmond 4 p.m.
Richmond, Va. Oct. 13
North Carolina*
1 p.m.
Chapel Hill, N.C. Oct. 20
Wake Forest*
1 p.m.
Charlottesville, Va. Oct. 27
Duke* 1 p.m.
Durham, N.C. Oct. 29
Princeton 4 p.m. Charlottesville, Va. Nov. 1-4
ACC Championship
Chapel Hill, N.C. Nov. 10-11
NCAA Regionals
TBA Campus Sites Nov. 16 & 18
NCAA Semifinals
TBA Norfolk, Va.

Home games in bold played at the University Hall Turf Field
* Atlantic Coast Conference game

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