Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) was named the Southeastern Conference Women’s Tennis Player of the Year for a record third time and was one of five members of the University of Florida women’s tennis team who were recognized by the league coaches to their All-SEC Teams. Roland Thornqvist was voted the league’s Coach of the Year by his peers for the fourth time in his 11 years with the Gators.
Embree is the first player in the 21-year history of the award to receive the SEC’s top individual honor three times in a career. Embree also was voted the SEC Player of the Year in 2012 and in 2010, when she became the first ever freshman to collect the award.
“It’s really special to me,” Embree shared. “I’ve never thought I’d be the first player to win this award so many times because there are and have been so many talented and great players in the SEC. I’m not really focused on awards. I just try and come out every day and win for the team and for my teammates. It’s an extra cool award to get and it’s something I want to thank my coaches and teammates who have helped me.”
Last year Embree joined Gator great Jill Craybas as the only two-time recipients, as Craybas was honored in 1995 and 1996.
Embree compiled a perfect 39-0 record during her dual match singles career against SEC opponents in conference matches and helped the Gators win four consecutive league regular-season and tournament championships.
“Lauren deserves every award that you can give her,” praised Thornqvist, who this year has led Florida to a 22-2 overall record, a share of the regular-season title and the team’s fourth straight postseason championship. “The cool thing about Lauren is that she’s obviously an outstanding tennis player, but she is a tremendous team player. She not only plays for herself, but she plays primarily for the team. She gives everything she has every day in practice and elevates our whole team to new levels. I’m very pleased but not surprised that she’s once again the SEC Player of the Year.”
A Gator has been named the SEC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year nine 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 Allie Will in 2011.
Junior Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) joined Embree on the All-SEC First Team, with juniors Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) and freshman Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) having earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team.
Oyen is a three-time First Team All-SEC honoree, while Cercone was voted the second team for the third consecutive season. This is the second time on the second-team for Janowicz, who was also selected during her freshman year and was recently named the 2013 SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Morgan, who also earned a place on the All-SEC Freshman Team, posted a 7-1 singles record in SEC matches during her rookie campaign.
Thornqvist has been named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006, 2010 and now in 2013.