Women's tennis team wins SEC tourney

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 7:54 p.m.

OXFORD, Miss. -- The top-seeded Florida women's tennis team was pushed to the limit Sunday, but showed its toughness to defeat third-seeded Georgia 4-1 to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament for the third consecutive year.

It's Florida's 18th league postseason crown in the 26-year history of the event.

Florida (21-1), the defending national champions, earns the SEC's automatic berth into the NCAA Championships. The 64-team field will be announced May 1 at 5:30 p.m.

Five of the six singles matches Sunday went to a third set, as the Gators captured the win after taking the doubles point and earning singles wins by Joanna Mather, who was named SEC Tournament MVP, Lauren Embree, who earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team, and Caroline Hitimana, who provided the clinching championship win.

Georgia, ranked seventh nationally, dropped to 21-4.

It was the 16th time the Gators and Bulldogs squared off in the SEC Tournament, with 14 of those meetings coming in the final. Florida holds a 10-6 edge against Georgia in the league's postseason event, including a 10-4 record when meeting in the title match.

Florida won its 16th consecutive match, as well as its 44th straight against SEC teams.

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