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Lauren Embree, Olivia Janowicz and Joanna Mather

Thursday May 12, 2011Women's Tennis Trio, Thornqvist Honored by Intercollegiate Tennis Association

Gainesville, Fla.

Lauren Embree, Olivia Janowicz and Joanna Mather

Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.), Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.), as well as University of Florida women’s tennis head coach Roland Thornqvist were honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association that announced its regional award winners on Thursday.


Embree was voted as the ITA Southeast Region Player to Watch by the region’s head coaches. The award is presented to “a player who has an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level the rest of his or her career. This award’s criteria also includes a player’s sportsmanship and character.” The Gator sophomore missed the majority of the 2010 fall season – playing only five doubles matches- when she was rehabilitating her left wrist (ruptured tendon) that required two surgeries (in June 2010 and in late October 2010). Since returning to the court in January of 2011, Embree has been undefeated in singles action entering the NCAA Championships with a 20-0 record, while posting a 23-2 doubles record during the calendar year that includes a 22-0 dual match ledger.


Embree’s selection as the regional Player to Watch is the sixth time a Gator has been voted to received the award. Jill Craybas (1995), Whitney Laiho (1999), Jessica Lehnhoff (2001) and two-time recipient Alexis Gordon (2003 & 2004) each earned the honor, with Craybas being the national winner in 1995 and Gordon in 2004.

Janowicz was honored as the ITA Southeast Rookie of the Year and has compiled a 32-7 singles record during her freshman campaign that includes a 20-3 dual match mark. She won the ITA Southeast Region Singles Championship during the fall and as a result earned an automatic berth into the USTA-ITA National Indoor Championships. Janowicz, who has been ranked as high as No. 22 in the country, earned a spot in the 2011 NCAA Singles Championships that will be played May 25-30 in Stanford, Calif., immediately following the NCAA Team Championships.

Janowicz is the 10th different Gator honored as the region’s top rookie, joining Lindsay Dawaf (2001), Zerene Reyes (2002) and Julia Cohen (2008), in addition to national winners Dawn Buth (1995), Amanda Basica (1997), Halle Cioffi (1988), Lisa Raymond (1992), Shaun Stafford (1987) and most recently Embree (2010).


Mather is just the program’s second player to receive the region’s Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship that “goes to a women’s player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team’s performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis.” Stephanie Nickitas was recognized as the 1998 national recipient of the award.


On the court Mather owns a 27-7 overall singles record this season, with a 13-2 record in dual match action. She earned a spot on the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor All-Tournament Team in doubles and was a second team All-Southeastern Conference selection this year.


Despite losing two important and contributing seniors from last year’s team and having zero on the 2010-11 roster that features just one eligible junior, Thornqvist, who was honored as an at-large selection for the ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year award, has guided the Gators to a 25-1 overall record and the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Championships. Florida won the SEC regular-season and tournament titles this season and was runner-up at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.


This is the second time during his 15-year collegiate tenure Thornqvist has garnered regional recognition as the ITA Coach of the Year.


All four will be in contention in their respective category for the national award which will be announced on May 24.


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