UF soccer faces test vs. Missouri
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 12, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
This Sunday, Florida will honor seniors Kathryn Williamson, Erika Tymrak, Holly King, McKenzie Barney and Jo Dragotta prior to the final regular-season match of their college careers.
Missouri at Florida, 7 p.m.
TV: Sun Sports
It will be a special day for a very special quintet.
“It's hard to believe that it is already time for that,” head coach Becky Burleigh said. “This is an unbelievable senior class.”
Tymrak and Williamson, UF's two senior All-Americans, are both two-time, first-team All-SEC selections who, earlier this season, were each named to the Watch List for the Hermann Trophy, the top individual honor in college soccer.
“It's crazy,” Williamson said. “As a senior, you have a whole different mindset. After every season before, we could all say ‘OK, I've got next year.' But now, there's no other option for us.”
Unfortunately, both stars have had to deal with injuries this year.
Tymrak, last year's leading scorer, went down with a sprained left ankle just before halftime of the Tennessee match Sept. 21, but returned with a flair this past weekend. She scored the game-winning goal against LSU and then assisted on the game-winner in UF's upset of fifth-ranked Texas A&M, bringing her career marks to 26 goals and 32 assists (84 points).
Williamson, however, has not played since suffering a meniscus tear in her right knee FIU Sept. 2.
The injury ended a streak of 78 consecutive starts at the center back position for this defensive whiz who led UF in minutes played each of the last three seasons.
“She's progressing really well,” Burleigh said. “She had her four-week appointment this week and it went well. They're happy with where she is and think she's getting closer and closer, but it's still week-to-week.”
The season has already been special for the remaining trio.
King, UF's team captain and steadying influence at midfield, is enjoying the best season of her career, scoring a career-high four goals, while Dragotta, a stalwart defender, has scored the first two goals of her career, highlighted by the game-tying score against the Aggies.
Barney, like Williamson a fifth-year (redshirt) senior, recently became just the seventh player in UF history to score 30 or more goals in her career — a mark that is within Tymrak's reach as well.
“More than anything, I'm thankful that I've met these people and that I've been coached by this great coaching staff,” Tymrak said. “We've created such a bond, and I'm just going to be so proud on Sunday.”
The 12th-ranked Gators (10-3-1, 7-1), who are on a seven-match winning streak, face a big test before Senior Day, taking on No. 14 Missouri (12-2, 7-1) tonight at 7 at Pressly Stadium in a battle for first place in the SEC. It will UF's “Kicking for the Cure” match in support of breast cancer awareness, and there will be fireworks after the game.
Sunday's Senior Day match with Mississippi State (7-7-1, 0-7-1) is set for 2 p.m.
“The five players in this class are huge contributors to our success,” Burleigh said. “We're really hoping for a great match to send them out.”