Gators place four on All-SEC team

University of Florida seniors Erika Tymrak (Bradenton, Fla.) and Holly King (Ashburn, Va.) picked up Southeastern Conference Players of the Year honors and are joined by two other Gators on 2012 All-Southeastern Conference teams, the league office announced Monday afternoon.

Tymrak is the first Gator named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year since the league began in 2005 announcing a SEC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year. King is the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and is the third Gator since 2009 to earn the honor. A Gator has now picked up a SEC Player of the Year honor 12 times in the program’s history.

The third Gator senior named to the All-SEC first team is defensive midfielder Jo Dragotta (Tampa, Fla.). Freshman center back Christen Westphal (Brecksville, Ohio) is part of both the All-SEC second and SEC Freshman teams.

Becky Burleigh, who led Florida to its 12th SEC title in 2012, was selected by her league peers as the SEC Coach of the Year. It is the fifth honor for Burleigh, who is in her 18th season with the program she started in 1995. She also was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2010.

Here’s a look at the season notes for Florida’s 2012 All-SEC honorees:

First team:

Midfielder – Jo Dragotta: All-SEC first team selection…Started every match at holding midfield…Shares Florida’s lead in goals (6) and tied for second in points (15)…Six goals shares sixth among SEC goal scorers in league matches…Named SEC Offensive Player of the Week and to the Top Drawer Soccer and Soccer America National Teams of the Week following her three-goal weekend which includes the game-winners versus then No. 14 Missouri and Mississippi State…Turned in first collegiate goal off penalty kick versus Georgia…Scored tying goal at then No. 5 Texas A&M and hit a 32-yard blast to put UF up 2-0 at Vanderbilt.

Midfielder – Holly King: SEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-SEC first team selection…Started every match at holding midfield and leads Florida’s field players with average of 86.5 minutes per match…Played the entirety of 14 matches…Sixth among the Gators with a career season-high 11 points…Turned in a career-high season total of four goals – all coming off set plays on consecutive September Sundays…Headed in game-winner in 3-2 victory over New Mexico…Provided tying goal at Auburn…Also headed in goals versus Georgia and Arkansas…Provided a pair of assists versus Vanderbilt.

Midfielder – Erika Tymrak: SEC Offensive Player of the Year and All-SEC first team selection…Appeared in 16 matches with 15 starts…Leads Florida with 17 points and seven assists…Also shares third with five goals…Named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Player of the Week, SEC Offensive Player of Week and named to two national teams of week following golden goal at then No. 2 Duke…Picked up second SEC Offensive Player of the Week honor after hitting game-winning goal at LSU and assisting on game-winning goal at then No. 5 Texas A&M…Scored Florida’s first goal at Vanderbilt and tying goal versus New Mexico…Also scored versus Mississippi State…Missed three matches after suffering a sprained left ankle just before halftime of Tennessee match…Named to Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List and among candidates for Senior CLASS Award.

Second team and SEC Freshman team:

Defender – Christen Westphal: All-SEC second team and also named to SEC Freshman team…Started all but the season opener, appearing in every match at center back…Second among Florida’s field players with average of 86.3 minutes per match…Played the entirety of 14 matches, including overtime contests at then No. 14 North Carolina, versus then No. 2 Duke and at Auburn.

In other awards announced Monday, Alabama’s Merel van Dongen is the SEC Freshman of the Year. Mississippi’s Rafaelle Souza and Missouri’s Allison Hu shared the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

The Gators now head to the SEC Tournament in Orange Beach, Ala. Florida will open play with Wednesday at 6 p.m. and will face the winner of Monday’s play-in match of LSU and Mississippi. The Gators have claimed the SEC Tournament title nine times, with the last coming in 2010.

All action at the 2012 SEC Tournament will be available via web stream or television. The SEC Digital Network will live stream Monday and Wednesday matches and Friday’s semifinal matches will appear on ESPN3. ESPNU will cover the SEC Championship match.

Courtesy of UF Communications