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Women's Tennis Headline

Lauren Embree was voted the SEC Player of the Year for the second time in her career.

Wednesday April 25, 2012Women's Tennis Well Represented on All-SEC Teams, Embree Named Player of Year

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.

Lauren Embree was voted the SEC Player of the Year for the second time in her career.

Six members of the University of Florida women’s tennis team were recognized by the Southeastern Conference coaches to their All-SEC Teams, with Gator junior Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) highlighting the list as the league’s Player of the Year.

 

Embree is the second player in the 20-year history of the award to receive the SEC’s top individual honor twice in a career, joining Gator great Jill Craybas, who was honored in 1995 and 1996. Embree also was voted the SEC Player of the Year in 2010, when she became the first ever freshman to collect the award.

 

“I’m not sure what more I can say about Lauren that I haven’t already said,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “She’s one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had in this program. She’s improved a lot over this spring. She has gotten more powerful, can handle pace and create pace better on her own. I’ve very excited about her development because ultimately, those are the things you have to do to play beyond college. It shows with her work ethic and her will and determination that she’s going to be a great pro.”

 

“This is a pretty cool award to get because there are so many great players in the SEC,” Embree shared. “I feel honored, but I know that we are all just focused on the NCAA Championships right now.”

 

A Gator has been named the SEC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year eight times, beginning with Lisa Raymond earning the honor in 1993, the debut of the award. In addition to Embree, Raymond and Craybas, Jessica Lehnhoff received the Player of the Year recognition in 2002, Alexis Gordon in 2004 and current Gator junior Allie Will in 2011.

 

“Being listed with those other great Gators is humbling,” Craybas said. “They’ve gone on from college and done some great things. I feel so blessed to be able to play for the University of Florida and to do so well for the team. It keeps me motivated to continue to win.”

 

“Lauren is really special,” Thornqvist said. “We’re fortunate that we have a team and a program full of these special players. Lauren is very deserving of the headlines and accolades she receives.”

 

Embree went 10-0 in SEC singles play and 18-2 overall. She and senior Joanna Mather, who was voted to the 2012 All-SEC First Team, have been dominate in doubles, going 20-0 in dual matches with a perfect 11-0 SEC record this year, as well as 29-0 all-time record versus league foes.

 

“It’s a tough conference and every time I go out there I want to win for my team and knowing each SEC team it keeps me driving and pushing hard to win for them,” Embree said.

 

Will was named First Team All-SEC for a third consecutive year, while Mather earned a spot on the league’s first team for the second time in her career, and the first time since her freshman season. Sophomore Sofie Oyen also was voted a First Team All-SEC performer for the second straight year.

 

Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana both were recognized to the All-SEC Second Team, marking Cercone’s second consecutive time making the list and the first ever SEC honor for Hitimana, a junior.

 

Alabama’s Jenny Mainz was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year, while Georgia’s Lauren Herring was named Freshman of the Year.

 

Scholar-Athlete of the Year was awarded to Alabama’s Courtney McLane for the second consecutive year.  She earned her undergraduate degree in three years, while holding a 4.0 GPA  and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in marketing, where she also holds a 4.0 GPA.

 

Ties are not broken which resulted in a 15-member second-team and a seven-member All-Freshman team.

 

A complete list of the 2012 SEC awards follows:

 

Coach of the Year:  Jenny Mainz, Alabama

Player of the Year: Lauren Embree, Florida

Freshman of the Year: Lauren Herring, Georgia

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Courtney McLane, Alabama

 

All-SEC First Team

Alexa Guarachi, Alabama

Mary Anne Macfarlane, Alabama

Lauren Embree, Florida

Joanna Mather, Florida

Sofie Oyen, Florida

Allie Will, Florida

Chelsey Gullickson, Georgia

Lauren Herring, Georgia

Maho Kowase, Georgia

Kristi Boxx, Ole Miss

Brynn Boren, Tennessee

Jackie Wu, Vanderbilt

 

All-SEC Second Team

Courtney McLane, Alabama

Alexandra Cercone, Florida

Caroline Hitimana, Florida

Kate Fuller, Georgia

Nadja Gilchrist, Georgia

Lilly Kimbell, Georgia

Abby Guthrie, Ole Miss

Caroline Rohde-Moe, Ole Miss

Erin Stephens, Ole Miss

Jaklin Alawi, South Carolina

Anya Morgina, South Carolina

Natalie Pluskota, Tennessee

Kata Szekely, Tennessee

Marie Casares, Vanderbilt

Lauren Mira, Vanderbilt

 

All-Freshman Team

Lauren Herring, Georgia

Marie Casares, Vanderbilt

Ashleigh Antal, Vanderbilt

Julia Jones, Ole Miss

Erin Stephens, Ole Miss

Stephanie Fox, Kentucky

Edmée Morin-Kougoucheff, Kentucky

 

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