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Virginia looks to sustain momentum in UNCW Tournament

Cavaliers to square off against UNC-Wilmington, Radford

<p>Freshman shortstop Allie Arneson returned to the lineup last weekend, hitting leadoff and going 3-for-4 in a win against Furman.</p>

Freshman shortstop Allie Arneson returned to the lineup last weekend, hitting leadoff and going 3-for-4 in a win against Furman.

The Virginia softball team is coming off a strong weekend in which they went 3-2, picking up key victories against Ohio, La Salle and Furman along the way. This weekend, the Cavaliers (6-9, 0-0 ACC) will head to Wilmington, N.C. to participate in the UNCW Tournament to face off against UNC-Wilmington and Radford.

After beginning the season with two consecutive losing weekends, the Cavaliers are starting to gain some momentum. Virginia has started to play with newfound confidence that is energizing the entire team. Coach Blake Miller knows the hard work that his players have put in, and he is beginning to see this belief emerge.

“It’s been a building process really for them. They’re finally starting to get confidence in their abilities,” he said. “It’s a long road, and going through this building process, finally just to see them believe in themselves and that they can win and just consistently drive doubles in the gaps.”

This past weekend also saw the return of freshman shortstop Allie Arneson, who missed some time in the beginning of the season. Arneson wasted no time in contributing to the team, as she stepped up right out of the gate. In the final game of the weekend, a win over Furman, Arneson hit leadoff and had a big day, going 3-for-4. Miller talked about the positive impact she has had on her teammates, especially on the defensive side of the field.

“It’s really solid to have our shortstop back now and the rest of the infielders just step up around her,” Miller said. “Its really solidifying everything we do on the field.”

Though Virginia had a solid weekend, there is no time to start relaxing. The Cavaliers must find a way to sustain the success they had last weekend and try to build off it. Miller said his team must stay focused on both the offensive and defensive sides of the plate.

“Big thing is just consistency and discipline at the plate. That’s for hitting, and defensive-wise, our pitchers have to try and get on top, got to believe and hit the spots and then letting the defense works,” Miller said. “So that’s the big thing, it starts with our bats and then the next big piece is to just get after hitters.”

Though Virginia will be playing two teams in Wilmington, UNC-Wilmington (10-4, 0-0 CAA) and Radford (6-4, 0-0 BSC), both of which have had excellent starts to the season, Miller knows that the Cavaliers must focus on themselves and try to play their game, at their best, in order to compete well this weekend.

“I really don’t worry about focusing on other people’s strengths or weaknesses,” Miller said. “We’re more focused on what our strengths are and being disciplined at the plate and controlling the controllables.”

The Cavaliers will have to stay focused on their games for this weekend, as they will have a quick turnaround next week. Virginia will travel to Towson, Md. Tuesday to take on Towson and then head over to Washington, D.C. to face George Washington Wednesday.

As for this Saturday, the Cavaliers will play UNC-Wilmington at 12:30 p.m. and Radford at 3 p.m. On Sunday, they will get an early start to the action, as they take on UNC-Wilmington at 10 a.m. and then finish off the weekend against Radford at 3 p.m.

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