UF soccer wins SEC tournament
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 8:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 4, 2012 at 8:19 p.m.
ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Top-seeded Florida out-shot sixth-seeded Auburn, 18-9, Sunday and gained the momentum with two first-half goals en route to a 3-0 win in the SEC Soccer Tournament Championship in front of 1,215 fans on a cloudy day at the Orange Beach SportsPlex.
For Florida (17-4-1), which won its 12th SEC regular-season title this year, it was the Gators’ league-leading 10th SEC Tournament Championship and their first since 2010.
“I am just really, really excited,” Florida head coach Becky Burleigh said. “It never gets old and for our players to be able to have the regular-season championship and the tournament championship, that means a lot.”
Florida’s Erika Tymrak was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after finishing the event with three goals in as many matches.
“It’s such an honor,” Tymrak said. “There are such great players and such good teams. The fact that they picked me for the MVP is incredible, but the credit has to go to my team because they set me up for a lot of the goals and they finished on a lot of the passes that I played, so the credit definitely goes out to my team.”
Junior forward Adriana Leon put Florida on the board in the 27th minute, going 1-on-1 with Auburn goalkeeper Amy Howard before knocking in the goal to give her team a 1-0 advantage. In the 31st minute, Tymrak scored her eighth goal of the season from 20 yards out near the post to put Florida a 2-0 edge, a lead that it took into the locker room at intermission.
In the 70th minute, Tymrak found teammate Havana Solaun who turned the ball on a sharp angle and drilled it to the back of the next to make the final 3-0 margin.
“I think we’re getting closer and closer to playing our best soccer,” Burleigh said. “That’s important at this time of year for us.”
Auburn drops to 12-10-1 with the loss, making it to the championship match for the second consecutive year, after winning the tournament in 2011 for the first time in school history.
“Congratulations to Florida; they were the best team in our league all year long and they proved it again in this tournament,” Auburn head coach Karen Hoppa said. “They were phenomenal and they scored three great goals. I was really proud of my team. I thought we came out in the second half and we really went after them, and we put them under some pressure. We gave ourselves a chance, but unfortunately we didn’t get a goal. If we had punched one in when it was still 2-0, I think it’s a whole new game. I was proud of our effort. I thought we came out and fought in the second half and I’m really proud of the run we made in this tournament.”
Selections for the 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship will be announced today at 4:30 p.m., and the selection show will be streamed live on NCAA.com. The field of 64 teams consists of 30 automatic qualifying sports and 34 at-large bids.
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