Four different Gators scored four second-half goals to give the No. 11 Florida soccer team (13-4-1, 10-2 SEC) a 4-0 win at Vanderbilt (5-9-5, 2-6-4 SEC) Sunday at the Vanderbilt Soccer Stadium.
One match remains in the Southeastern Conference regular season schedule. Florida is at South Carolina on Thursday and a win would give the Gators their 12th league title. Florida owns 30 points in the league standings and Texas A&M is second at 28 after its 1-0 double overtime win Sunday over Georgia. Teams receive three points for a win and one for a tie toward the league standings.
After a scoreless opening half Sunday, the Gator coaching staff stressed the importance of width in Florida’s formation to allow space for the attacks to develop.
“I think we were a little impatient in the first half. There was a lot of space, which made us want to go very quickly,” Florida head coach Becky Burleigh said. “At halftime we talked about keeping possession in Vanderbilt’s defensive half and once we did that, things opened up for us that hadn’t earlier.”
The Gators took that message to heart, scoring three goals within an eight-minute span just five minutes after the second half started.
The first two goals came from distance. Senior All-American Erika Tymrak started the scoring, hitting her fifth goal of the season at 50:04.
“I was wide on the left side. Holly King was in the middle and gave me a really good pass. I looked up, beat my defender then saw the far post open. I hit it and it kind of knuckled in,” Tymrak said.
Just under two minutes later, senior Jo Dragotta scored from 32 yards off the ball she received from junior Taylor Travis.
“I just looked up and saw the keeper was a little off her line so I just hit it as hard as I could,” Dragotta said.
The long-distance goal was much like the pair she scored in the run of play last weekend.
“It was like déjà vu that she scored that same goal three times,” Tymrak said. “I told her that she had that upper 90 spot patented with her name on it.”
Dragotta has scored six goals in her career – all this season. Four of those goals have come in the span of the last four matches and all have come in the last nine contests.
The Gators were awarded a free kick just above the 18-yard box in the 58th minute. Sophomore Havana Solaun took the shot, which hit the cross bar and deflected down into the six-yard box. Senior McKenzie Barney placed in the deflection with her left foot for her sixth goal of the season.
Barney and Dragotta now share the Gator goals lead at six each.
Just over a minute after entering the match, junior Caroline Triglia scored her second goal of the season. Lauren Silver’s pass found fellow sophomore Annie Speese just inside the box at end line. The centering ball she sent found Triglia just above the six-yard box where she placed it in untouched at 66:19.
Florida finishes regular-season SEC play Thursday when it meets South Carolina (6-8-4, 3-6-3 SEC) in Columbia, S.C. Match time is set for 6 p.m. ET at the Eugene E. Stone III Stadium and can be seen live on SUN Sports (Gainesville/Ocala Cox Cable 1048). The Gamecocks won 1-0 at Alabama Sunday.
Courtesy of UF Communications