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Vols Take SEC Player, Freshman and Coach of the Year Awards
Sam Winterbotham


Sam Winterbotham
The second-ranked Tennessee Volunteers swept the regular-season and tournament SEC titles, and now they've taken the three major conference postseason awards as well.

Junior John-Patrick Smith, currently ranked No. 1 nationally in singles, was named SEC Player of the Year, and Rhyne Williams shared SEC Freshman of the Year honors with Vanderbilt's Ryan Lipman. Head coach Sam Winterbotham was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three years.

For the first time in program history, the Vols (26-1) had five players named All-SEC, with four of them making the first team. Smith, Williams, senior Davey Sandgren and junior Boris Conkic were named first team All-SEC. Freshman Tennys Sandgren was named to the second team.

The postseason awards are nominated and voted on by SEC coaches.

Another SEC Award

Smith was named MVP of the SEC Tournament after an undefeated performance, and four days later, he was named SEC Player of the Year.

A two-time All-America, Smith has picked up first-team All-SEC honors three times now. In his second year of playing No. 1 for the Vols, he finished 9-1 in SEC play and has a 38-6 overall record. He earned conference player of the week four times during the season to lead the league.

It has been a special season for Smith already, who became the third player ever to win the singles and doubles titles at the ITA All-American Championships in October. He is the first Vol since Chris Woodruff (1993) to reach the No. 1 ITA singles ranking.

Smith and Sandgren, who finished 2009 ranked No. 1 in doubles, have enjoyed another successful season at the top of the Vols lineup. They have a 33-6 record this year and are ranked second nationally.

Davey Sandgren was named All-SEC for the first time since his freshman season, when he earned second-team all-conference honors. After Matt Brewer went down with an ankle injury midway through the SEC season, Sandgren stepped back into the singles lineup and went 5-0 at the sixth position.

Honored Again

In the four years they have been coaching together, Winterbotham and associate head coach Chris Woodruff have led the Vols to an 89-20 record and three consecutive seasons with at least 23 wins.

This year, the Vols have a 26-1 record and finished 11 in the SEC, marking the first time the Vols have gone undefeated in conference play since 1990. A week after clinching the outright SEC regular-season title with a 6-1 victory over Georgia, Tennessee shut out Florida on Sunday to win its third SEC Tournament title since 1990.

Winterbotham was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2008 and ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year last season.

Not Bad for a Freshman

The Vols strengthened the middle of their lineup with the addition of two in-state freshman: Williams and Tennys Sandgren.

Williams, a native of Knoxville, has already compiled one of the most successful freshman seasons in UT history. He finished 10-1 at No. 3 singles and 10-1 at No. 2 doubles with Conkic during the SEC regular season.

Williams has been ranked as high as No. 22 in singles and has a 34-6 overall record. His 34 wins are tied for fifth most by a Tennessee freshman, and he currently holds the record for freshman winning percentage (.850). He and Conkic are currently ranked seventh nationally with a 31-3 record.

Tennys Sandgren, who joined the team in January, has not lost a match since February. He leads Tennessee with a 12-match winning streak and finished a perfect 10-0 in the No. 4 position during SEC play.

Make That Three: Conkic was named first-team All-SEC for the first time in his career after earning second team honors his freshman and sophomore seasons. The junior from Novi Sad, Serbia, has been a mainstay at the No. 2 singles and doubles positions for the last two seasons and became the sixth Vol in history to win the singles title at the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships in January.

In regular season SEC matches, Conkic finished 6-5 in singles and 10-1 in doubles with Williams. Conkic clinched two matches during the Vols' shutout run through the SEC Tournament, sealing the 4-0 victory over Florida in the Championship match. He joined Smith on the SEC All-Tournament Team.

Tune In

The Vols automatically secured a bid into the NCAA Championships by winning the SEC Tournament, but they will find out their opponents Tuesday evening during the selection show. ESPNews will release the draws for the men's and women's tournaments between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

SEC Postseason Awards
Coach of the Year: Sam Winterbotham, Tennessee
Player of the Year: John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee
Co-Freshmen of the Year: Rhyne Williams, Tennessee / Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt
Scholar Athlete of the Year: Saketh Myneni, Alabama

All-SEC First Team
Saketh Myneni, Alabama
Tim Puetz, Auburn
Alex Lacroix, Florida
Javier Garrapiz, Georgia
Eric Quigley, Kentucky
Marcel Thiemann, Ole Miss
Pedro Campos, South Carolina
Boris Conkic, Tennessee
Davey Sandgren, Tennessee
John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee
Rhyne Williams, Tennessee

Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt

All-SEC Second Team
Chris Nott, Arkansas
Tim Hewitt, Auburn
Alex Stamchev, Auburn
Antoine Benneteau, Florida
Jamie Hunt, Georgia
Nate Schnugg, Georgia
Alex Musialek, Kentucky
Neal Skupski, LSU
Tucker Vorster, Ole Miss
George Coupland, Mississippi State
Diego Cubas, South Carolina
Tennys Sandgren, Tennessee

All-Freshman Team
Tim Hewitt, Auburn
Sekou Bangoura Jr., Florida
Bob Van Overbeek, Florida
Anthony Rossi, Kentucky
Tennys Sandgren, Tennessee
Rhyne Williams, Tennessee

Ryan Lipman, Vanderbilt

 

 

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