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Gators' Lauren Embree becomes first three-time SEC Player of the Year

Published Apr. 26, 2013

Flroida senior tennis player Lauren Embree on Wednesday was named the SEC Player of the Year, becoming the first player in the 21-year history of the award to receive the league's top individual honor three timesin a career.

She also won in 2012 and 2010 - when she became the first freshman to win the award.

Florida coach Roland Thornqvist was named SEC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his 11-year tenure. Five members of the Gators' squad were recognized by the league.

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"It's really special to me," Embree said. "I 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 former Gator Jill Craybas as the only two-time recipients; 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," said 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 joined Embree on the All-SEC First Team, with juniors Alexandra Cercone, and Olivia Janowicz and freshman Brianna Morgan having earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team.