UF soccer team tops No. 2 Duke

Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 26, 2012 at 9:09 p.m.

Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Senior All-American Erika Tymrak’s first goal of the year was golden Sunday as the Florida soccer team upset No. 2 Duke in the second day of the Carolina Nike Classic.

It was a give-and-go play that ended the match in the 93rd minute. Tymrak brought the ball down to the top of the box and sent it right to fellow senior McKenzie Barney. Barney sent the ball back to Tymrak who continued her run into the box.

“I looked up and saw McKenzie wide open. I gave her the ball and then made a run in the box,” Tymrak said. “She put it literally right on my foot. I don’t really remember much of it because I was so in the moment. I kicked it and it might have deflected off of someone, but it went in.”

Tymrak’s score finished the Gators (1-1-1) comeback from a first-half two-goal deficit.

The Blue Devils (2-1) struck first when junior Gilda Doria struck a 20-yard shot in the ninth minute. Cassie Pecht scored her second goal of the season after she intercepted a Gator pass to hit an unassisted goal from 20 yards in the 29th minute.

A pair of sophomores synced up to score Florida’s first goal in the 39th minute. Havana Solaun, located just above the middle of the box, sent a through ball into the box which found Jillian Graff. Her right-footed shot from 15 yards scored at the lower right corner of the goal.

A second-half cross by Tymrak ended up as the tying goal in the 64th minute. Florida was awarded a corner kick and Annie Speese sent the ball to Tymrak, who moved the ball along the end line. She saw an opportunity to put the ball into traffic and the ball she sent deflected off of a Duke player’s back to score for the Gators.

“The coaches always say just drill it in (in that situation) because it will hit off of someone. I just looked up and saw a bunch of our players and a bunch of their players so I drilled it waist high and it deflected,” Tymrak said. “It was really exciting because it tied the score.

Through three matches, the Gators now have a win, loss and a tie. Just over a week ago, the team opened with a disappointing 4-1 loss to Miami. Now after tying perennial power and No. 14 North Carolina 0-0 2OT and defeating 2011 NCAA College Cup finalist Duke, the Gators got some validation that they are better that what they showed in the opener.

“I know this is the biggest win of the season since it is the only one,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said with a laugh. “It was just a much-needed win and confidence boost for this team. We overcame a lot in this game. After going to overtime in a battle with North Carolina Friday night, to be able to have the legs to go into overtime today and win this after overcoming a two-goal deficit shows the character this team has.

“It was a huge game for us because of the way we started the season against Miami,” she continued. “It would be easy for us to have some self-doubt, but everyone on this team knew that we are a really good team and we just had to go out and prove it.”

Florida finishes its three-match road stretch versus top-15 teams this Friday when it travels to No. 3 Florida State (2-0).

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