Dragotta nets pair of weekly honors

Florida Gators senior Jo Dragotta (Tampa/Gaither H.S.) is the recipient of a pair of weekly honors after her three-goal weekend for the No. 12 Gator soccer team. Dragotta is the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week and is also part of Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week.

Dragotta has scored five goals as a Gator – all in the last seven matches. Last weekend, she provided Florida with the game-winning goals in both matches. She hit a bouncing ball off an Adriana Leon corner kick from 10 yards, burying it in the right corner in the 85th minute to give UF the final 2-1 margin versus No. 14 Missouri.

“Her contribution in the past often went unnoticed,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “She is a defensive holding midfielder for us, kind of the dirty work player that doesn’t get a lot of credit. A lot of times she has to stay connected to the back line because we send the outside backs forward so much so she and Holly King needs to hold down the fort when those backs are gone. There is not a lot of opportunity for stats in that, but the fact that she’s been scoring is due in large part first because of her set piece creativity and ability.”

Sunday on the Gators’ Senior Day, Dragotta turned in her first double-goal match. She broke a 1-all tie in the 71st minute with a 24-yard rocket off an Annie Speese assist which scored in the far post upper corner. She finished the Gator scoring by converting a penalty kick in the 80th minute.

Dragotta has scored a goal in each of Florida’s last three matches, as she turned in Florida’s first goal at then No. 5 Texas A&M on Oct. 7.

“We have always known and appreciated that Jo has a huge contribution to our team, but it is kind of neat to see other people starting to realize that,” Burleigh said. “If it takes stats for that to happen, that’s OK, but we’ve known it all along.”

The defensive midfielder shares the UF goals lead (5) with McKenzie Barney and Havana Solaun. She is tied for second in the SEC for goals in league play. She has started every match this season, averaging 77 minutes per match.

Dragotta is the second consecutive Gator to claim the SEC Offensive Player of the Week honor as fellow senior Erika Tymrak shared the last award with Missouri’s Alyssa Diggs. Tymrak also earned the honor on Aug. 27.

The SEC Defensive Player of the Week is Kentucky goalkeeper Kayla King and UK’s Kelli Hubly is the SEC Freshman of the Week.

Florida finishes its 2012 SEC regular-season schedule with a three-match road stretch, beginning next Friday at Alabama. The Tide dropped a 2-1 decision to Missouri on Sunday and are 7-7-2 this season. Friday’s match time is set for 8 p.m. ET at the Alabama Soccer Stadium.

Courtesy of UF Communications