Embree is SEC Player of Year


Florida Lauren Embree returns a serve against Duke earlier this season.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Florida junior tennis standout Lauren Embree was recognized as the SEC Player of the Year by the league coaches Wednesday.

Embree is one of six Gators honored by the SEC.

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 first won the award in 2010, when she became the first freshman to collect the hardware.

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

Embree went 10-0 in SEC singles play and 18-2 overall. She and senior Joanna Mather, who was voted to the All-SEC First Team, have been dominant in doubles, going 20-0 in dual matches with a perfect 11-0 SEC record.

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 performer for the second straight year.

Alexandra Cercone and Caroline Hitimana both were recognized to the 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 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.

Lacrosse: Florida was awarded all three Player of the Week honors from the American Lacrosse Conference this week after its win over No. 1 Northwestern last Saturday.

Gabi Wiegand, the WomensLax.com National Player of the Week, takes home her first career ALC Offensive Player of the Week honor. Sam Farrell earned ALC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time in her career and the first time this season, and Nora Barry won her ALC-best fourth Rookie of the Week honor.

The Gators are the first team to earn all three ALC weekly honors since the addition of Rookie of the Week.

Wiegand scored a game-high four points, including the game-winning goal with 5:47 left in the second half at Northwestern, to lead the Gators past the undefeated Wildcats, 8-7, and bring home the ALC regular-season title.

Florida is taking the week off before returning to Donald R. Dizney Stadium to host the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament on May 3-5. The Gators, who have earned the top seed for the tournament and a first-round bye, will hit the field for the second semifinal game at 7 p.m. on May 4, where they will take on the winner of the quarterfinal game between the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams.

The bottom three seeds have yet to be set, but Florida will face either Johns Hopkins, Ohio State or Vanderbilt.

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