April 18, 2011
Sophomore Rhyne Williams was named SEC Player of the Week after leading the charge in the Vols' 4-3 victory over fifth-ranked Georgia to secure a share of the SEC regular-season title.
Williams, a Knoxville native, was the lone Vol to win both his singles and doubles matches in what was Tennessee's third road victory at Georgia in more than two decades but second win in Athens in the last two years.
Fourth-ranked Tennessee (20-3, 10-1 SEC) has now won back-to-back regular-season titles for the first time in program history and has nine total SEC crowns. The team starts SEC tournament competition Friday in Gainesville, Fla., as the top seed.
In the final weekend of the season, Williams was perfect on the Vols' third match against a top-10 opponent this year. In doubles, Williams teamed up with fellow sophomore Tennys Sandgren to defeat 49th-ranked Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada 8-5. Williams put the Vols up 3-2 in singles when he earned a 6-3, 6-3 victory over 29th-ranked Javier Garrapiz.
Williams, ranked fourth nationally in singles, finished the SEC season 9-2 in singles and 9-2 in doubles while playing primarily at the No. 2 position. He ended the regular season on a four-match winning streak in both categories.
Monday's honor was Williams' first career SEC Player of the Week award, but he was named SEC Freshman of the Week twice last season on his way to becoming the SEC Freshman of the Year.
Senior John-Patrick Smith, who clinched Saturday's team victory at Georgia on court 1, was named SEC Player of the Week twice this season, upping his career total to eight such awards. Senior Boris Conkic earned the honor for the first time in his career in February after going unbeaten at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
The SEC Tournament: The Vols practice in Knoxville for two days before departing Wednesday afternoon for Gainesville, Fla., to start their bid for a consecutive title at the SEC Championships. As the No. 1 seed, the Vols received a first-round bye and face either Mississippi or Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals on Friday at 6 p.m.
Last season, Tennessee became the first team in tournament history to grab the title after shutting out all three opponents by 4-0 scores. The Vols have won three SEC tournament titles in the following years: 1990, 2001 and 2010.
Rhyne Williams' Results
Williams def. #29 Javier Garrapiz, Georgia, 6-3, 6-3
Doubles (with Tennys Sandgren)
Williams/Sandgren def. #49 Doumbia/Taboada, Georgia, 8-5