Epley Named Coach of the Year; Martins Earns Player of the Year Honors
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – South Carolina women’s tennis picked up multiple postseason awards as head coach Kevin Epley was named the SEC Coach of the Year, while Ingrid Martins earned Player of the Year honors as announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon.
Three Gamecocks made the All-SEC First-Team, with Paige Cline and Mia Horvit joining Martins. This is the first season South Carolina has had three student-athletes honored on the first team.
Epley is the second coach to nab the postseason award for Carolina, with Arlo Elkins collecting the honor in 1995. Martins is the first Gamecock honored as the SEC’s Player of the Year.
This season marks Epley’s seventh as head coach at South Carolina. He led his team to its highest ranking in program history, coming in at No. 3 in the nation. Making more history this season, Epley’s team won three-straight matches, taking the SEC Championship over No. 1-ranked Georgia, 4-3, for the first SEC Tournament title in program history.
South Carolina tallied a 12-1 SEC record, finishing second in the league. For the second-consecutive year, Epley’s team went undefeated on the road in SEC play, going a perfect 8-0. Overall, Carolina sits at 20-3 this season, including three postseason wins, a 10-match win streak, and 17 wins over ranked opponents.
This is the third honor on an All-SEC team for Martins, making the first team last season and the freshman team in 2016. Martins holds a record of 14-2 in dual matches at the No. 1 position in the lineup. She went 7-1 in league play, 12-2 against nationally-ranked counterparts, and added three more wins at the SEC Tournament. Currently No. 7 in the nation with doubles partner Horvit, the pair earned the program’s first No. 1 national ranking earlier this season. In singles, she topped her own program-best mark when she climbed to No. 4.
Horvit picks up her fourth All-SEC honor, being named to the freshman team in 2016 and the second team in 2017 and 2018. Horvit has tallied a 14-3 dual-match record, going 14-2 at the No. 3 position. She has won six-consecutive matches and is the third Gamecock with a national ranking, currently at No. 86.
This is Cline’s first All-SEC honor at Carolina. With the spring season still rolling, she is 12-4 in duals for the Gamecocks and is 9-2 against SEC opponents at the No. 2 spot. Cline is currently ranked at No. 16 in the ITA singles poll, the highest ranking of her collegiate career so far.
Cline played a large role at the SEC Tournament, defeating her opponents in the semifinals and finals to help her team to its first-ever SEC Championship in program history. She was also named to the All-Tournament team for her successes.
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