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​Softball opens season with tournament out West

<p>Senior Allison Davis looks to help&nbsp;take down Virginia Tech with the skills she has developed from new coach Joanna Hardin.</p>

Senior Allison Davis looks to help take down Virginia Tech with the skills she has developed from new coach Joanna Hardin.

The Virginia softball team kicks off its 2017 season Thursday with the Kajikawa Classic in Arizona. On the first day of the tournament, the Cavaliers will take on Pac-12 opponents Oregon — who finished the season last year 10th in the country — and Arizona State. The Cavaliers will compete against Western Michigan, the University of Texas at El Paso, and will conclude the tournament with a game against San Jose.

The Cavaliers are looking forward to the tough competition and for the opportunity to gain more experience playing against quality opponents. Virginia is led by junior pitcher and outfielder Allison Davis — who earned All-ACC Second Team honors last season — and junior Danni Ingraham — who was a VaSID All-State Selection in the 2015-2016 season. The Cavaliers also have returning seven of the top hitters who accounted for 135 of 218 runs scored last season. In addition to welcoming three new freshmen to the team, Virginia also welcomes coach Joanna Hardin in her first season with the Cavaliers.

Once the Cavaliers return from Arizona, they will go back out on the road the following weekend for the Charleston Southern Tournament.

Virginia will host its first opponent, Virginia Tech, for a three-game series during the first weekend of March.