Florida soccer opens road trip at Alabama

The No. 11 Gator soccer team (12-3-1, 9-1 SEC) begins a three-match road stretch Friday when it faces Alabama (7-7-2, 2-6-2 SEC). Match time is set for 8 p.m. ET at the Alabama Soccer Stadium.

Sunday, it was Senior Day at Pressly Stadium and Florida’s 2012 class provided all the scoring in a 4-1 win over Mississippi State. McKenzie Barney turned in UF’s earliest goal of the season at 4:33 off the assist from fellow senior Erika Tymrak. The Bulldogs scored on their first shot of the match early in the second half to tie the score. But a 10-minute three-goal flurry gave the Gators command of the match. Dragotta scored off a 24-yard blast at 70:47 for her second consecutive game-winning goal. Tymrak hit a 19-yard free kick at 76:53. After MSU starting goalkeeper Skylar Rosson was ejected at 80:23 after fouling freshman Claire Falknor on a goal scoring opportunity, Dragotta converted the penalty kick for the first double goal match of her career. Dragotta has scored five goals in her Gator career – all in the last seven matches. She has scored in each of Florida’s last three matches.

After her three goal weekend, Dragotta earned the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor and also appeared on Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week. She shares Florida’s lead for season goals at five with Barney and sophomore Havana Solaun. Tymrak, who leads UF with six assists, shares the season points lead with Solaun at 14 each.

Alabama opened the 2012 season with five consecutive wins. The Tide has earned 2-1 league wins versus Georgia and at Kentucky (overtime), but has lost its last four. Sophomore Pia Rijsdijk leads Alabama with 19 points off of seven goals and five assists and shares the Tide goals lead with freshman Katie Bourgeois (7).

Florida needed to come from behind in both 2011 meetings with Alabama. During the regular season meeting in Gainesville, the Tide scored off a free kick header in the 21st minute. Speese scored her first of two goals to tie the match in the 38th minute. Florida scored three goals within a seven minute second-half span to earn the final margin. Jillian Graff chipped over the goalkeeper to score her first collegiate goal in the 71st minute. Speese scored on an 18-yard free kick in the 73rd minute for her third double-goal match of the season. Senior Tahnai Annis finished the day’s scoring with a short shot in the 77th minute as UF won 4-1.

In 2011 SEC Tournament semifinal action, Florida trailed the Tide for less than a minute. After the Tide scored off a corner kick, Tymrak tied the match 40 second later at 32:47. Senior Lindsay Thompson gave the Gators the final margin when she tapped in the through ball from Tymrak in the 81st minute as UF advanced to the final with a 2-1 win.

Courtesy of UF Communications