soccerFLA.com - the home of Florida soccer.


 


No. 10 Gators win 10th SEC Soccer Tournament with 3-0 win over Auburn Sunday

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – The No. 10 Gators (17-4-1, 11-2 SEC) hoisted their 10th Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament trophy after taking a 3-0 win over Auburn (12-10-1, 7-6 SEC) Sunday in front of an Orange Beach Sportsplex crowd of 1,215.

With the win, Florida receives the SECs automatic berth into the NCAA Championship’s field of 64. It will be Florida’s 16th NCAA appearance in the 18-year history of the program. The entire field is revealed Monday at 4:30 p.m. ET at NCAA.com.

A pair of first half goals Sunday put the Gators well on the way of ensuring they would not become the third nationally-ranked opponent to fall to Auburn at this season’s SEC Tournament. The No. 6 seeded Tigers moved ahead Wednesday after a 5-3 penalty kick advantage over third-seeded and No. 19 Tennessee after the two teams played to a scoreless tie. Friday, the Tigers scored twice in the second half to send second-seeded and No. 12 Texas A&M home by a 2-0 score.

The first score came from the same player who gave the Gators a golden-goal win when the two teams first met in Auburn on Sept. 16. Senior All-American Erika Tymrak, from about 30 yards above the Tiger goal, sent a diagonal ball to sophomore Havana Solaun. She touched the ball to Adriana Leon who was sprinting toward the penalty spot. Leon took a touch, then sent a low shot to the near post which put the Gators on the board in the 26th minute.

Leon, who transferred to Florida after playing her first two seasons at Notre Dame, turned in her first goal as a Gator at Auburn with an 18-yard shot with just 32 second remaining in the first overtime period. Sunday’s goal was also the second SEC-championship goal for the junior. She hit the game-winning goal at South Carolina on Oct. 25 and that 3-0 win in Columbia gave Florida its 12th SEC regular-season championship.

Tymrak pushed the halftime lead to 2-0 in the 31st minute with another goal scored from distance. The ball from senior Holly King found Solaun above the box who then touched it out to Tymrak about 10 yards above the 18-yard box. Tymrak dribbled forward to beat one marker, then sent a hard and low shot from 23 yards which beat Tiger goalkeeper Amy Howard to the near post.

This was Tymrak’s third goal from 20-yards or farther of the tournament. In Friday’s semifinal win versus Missouri, Tymrak scored from 25 yards and she provided the Gators with the game-winning goal of a 24-yard free kick in the 2-1 win over Mississippi Wednesday.

Florida added to the score in the 70th minute when Solaun scored off the assist from Tymrak. Her pass found Solaun rotating to the corner of the six-yard box on the Tiger goalkeeper’s left. Solaun’s low shot scored for her seventh goal of the season.

Solaun’s goal helped settle play as the Tigers were playing a more aggressive man-to-man in the second half.

“It’s really exciting [to score]. We were up 2- 0, but it was still a little hectic,” Solaun said. “I think the third goal helped us settle down and it just took a lot of pressure off of everyone.”

Florida’s head coach Becky Burleigh, the only coach in the Gator program’s existence, said getting these wins are always thrilling. But what she is most excited about is the play the Gators showed throughout the tournament.

“Playing three matches in five days is challenging, but I like that it has kept our momentum going coming into this post season. I’m really excited how we’ve been playing as of late,” Burleigh said. “I thought we did a good job regardless of the tactic Auburn played whether it was the first half with a bunker or the second half where they were kind of man-to-manning all over the field, our team found a way to solve that.”

Tymrak, who scored a goal in each of Florida’s three matches and also tallied three assists during tournament play, picked up her second SEC Tournament MVP honor. She also received the honor the last time UF won the tournament crown in 2010.

“We’re just so excited that we won the championship. We set goals for ourselves throughout the season. Our first goal was the SEC title and we got that done,” Tymrak said. “We came to Orange Beach with the goal to win the championship and we got it done and I’m just really happy I could be part of it.”

Joining her on the SEC All-Tournament team were King, Jo Dragotta and freshman Christen Westphal. The same Gator quartet also earned All-SEC honors on Monday, with Tymrak, King and Dragotta earning first team honors and Westphal being named to the second team.

Dragotta left the field in the 53rd minute when AU’s Ana Cate’s elbow hit her in the head. She was taken to a local hospital and all tests came back normal. She returned to Gainesville with team.

Scoring Summary: 1st 2nd Final
Auburn 0 0 0
Florida 2 1 3

Scoring:
UF: Adriana Leon (Havana Solaun, Erika Tymrak) 26:26
UF: Erika Tymrak (Solaun, Holly King) 30:45
UF: Havana Solaun (King, Tymrak) 69:44

Goalkeepers: Minutes Saves GA
Auburn Amy Howard 90:00 5 3
Florida Taylor Burke 78:41 5 0
Valerie Tysinger 11:19 0 0

Statistical Summary: AU UF
Shots 9 18
Shots on goal 5 9
Saves 5 5
Fouls 10 9
Corner Kicks 2 5
Offsides 2 2

Cautions: Jo Dragotta, UF/yellow (48:20), Mary Nicholson, AU/yellow (79:00)