ATHENS, Ga. –The No. 6 Florida soccer team (8-2, 1-0 SEC) only needed a goal by Erika Tymrak as the Gators opened Southeastern Conference play Friday with a 1-0 win over Georgia (6-3, 0-1 SEC) in front of a season-high crowd of 2,337 at the Turner Soccer Complex. The loss snapped a five-match win streak for the Bulldogs.
Florida dominated play for much of the match, but it wasn’t until the 70th minute before the Gators could get on the scoreboard. A Georgia goal kick was won by sophomore Taylor Travis and she played the ball to Tymrak. She brought the ball diagonally through the UGA side, launching a shot which scored at the near post corner.
“Georgia had a goal kick. It headed out and Taylor Travis won it. She had two defenders on her and she still won it,” Tymrak said admiringly. “I kind of went forward and touched it past a defender. I was basically one-on-one and I cut it in. I saw the keeper go far so I slotted it near post.”
Tymrak, who re-entered the match in the 69th minute, was given a reminder from UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh just before she went entered the field.
“Just before she went in, I reminded her of what was written on the white board at our practice field from (past UF All-Americans) Abby (Wambach) and Heather (Mitts). It says ‘It only takes one good chance,’” Burleigh said. “And soon as she went in, she stuck her one good chance.”
The goal pushed Tymrak’s team-leading season goals total to seven.
The Bulldogs had some good looks at the goal in the match, but probably none as dangerous as the 35-yard shot by Jenna Owens in the final minute of regulation. UF freshman goalkeeper Taylor Burke showed the ups she possesses as the nation’s top prep high jumper, leaping to get a hand on the ball and pushing it up to clip the crossbar. The ball came down in the field of play where she was able to pick it up to end the tying threat.
“I saw it coming and told myself to be calm. I was able to get a hand on it and then the ball hit the crossbar. I wasn’t sure if it went out for a corner, but then I saw it come down so I was able to pick it up,” Burke said. “I was just happy that I could help the team.”
Burleigh thought it was key save.
“Taylor came through with a big save,” Burleigh said. “That was Taylor’s athleticism coming through.”
Possession was held by the Gators for much of the match, as Georgia put numbers behind the ball. Burleigh was glad to open league play with a win.
“I think the fact that Georgia came out and low-pressured us was a big compliment to our team. It showed a lot of respect to us. Georgia played hard and were very organized behind the ball,” Burleigh said. “We were happy to come out with the 1-0 win.”
The Gators continue SEC Eastern Division road action on Sunday when they meet No. 12 Tennessee (7-2, 0-0 SEC) on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.