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Group hug! Erika Tymrak is mobbed by Gators after her second goal Friday.

Friday September 2, 2011No. 13 Gator Soccer Opens Home Season with 3-0 Win Over Texas Tech

Gainesville, Fla.

Group hug! Erika Tymrak is mobbed by Gators after her second goal Friday.

Gator junior Erika Tymrak played a part in each goal Friday, as Florida (4-1, 0-0 SEC) opened the home season Friday with a 3-0 win over Texas Tech (3-2, 0-0 Big 12).


A large and enthusiastic crowd welcomed the No. 13 Gators home after a program-record four-match season opening road stretch. The crowd of 3,728 – the fifth largest in school history - also were on hand to celebrate Gator Greats and U.S. World Cup team members Heather Mitts and Abby Wambach. The pair was cheered boisterously when announced at halftime and then they signed autographs post-match.

Gator Greats and members of the 2011 U.S. World Cup team, Heather Mitts (left) and Abby Wambach, were feted by the crowd Friday and signed autographs after the match. Both remembered their Gator days fondly:


Abby Wambach (Florida team member: 1998-01)

On being a Gator:

“The best part of my experience this last summer was… in every single stadium that we played in there was a Gator flag waving. I don’t know if it was the same person every time, either way, it was something that made me feel really proud of the time that I spent here. I told people this my entire career, coming to school here literally was preparing me to become a professional athlete. Obviously the academics are great and we all know the storied history of the sports here, but people don’t understand what this sport did and what this school did for me. It literally prepared me to become a professional athlete; the best stadiums, the best coaches, the best travel. It was by far one of the best, most impactful things about me having success down in my professional life.”

“I’m proud to not only have lived in Gainesville and to be a Gator but also be able to continue to make the Gator Nation proud through the ventures I continue to do.”


On her 2011 World Cup experience:

“Hopefully inspires some of the kids on the field tonight to maybe foresee themselves doing that in the future. I was 19 years old sitting here in Gainesville when the women won the World Cup in 1999 and never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a moment similar to that however many years later. I want to give people, hopefully, the ability to see themselves in that kind of zone, in that element. It’s a really rare thing. We captured a nation, captured the hearts of a nation. It’s something I take very seriously.”


Heather Mitts (Florida team member: 1996-99)

On best memories from college:

“It has to be us winning the national championship (in 1998). I came here when it first started and being able to win the national championship in such a short amount of time was unbelievable, but a lot of that comes from the fact that we were such a tight-knit group, the great coaching, and all the things that come along with such a great university. You’re gonna get results.


“Being able to come back here and saying that we were Florida Gators from the beginning is definitely something we take pride in. To the future Gators - just keep it going. Keep the momentum going, keep the history going and be proud of the fact that you’re a Gator.”


On Becky Burleigh’s contribution to women’s soccer:

“You see how many great players have not only come here but have been a result of what Becky has done here at the University of Florida. She’s producing a lot of talent and I think that we both owe Becky so much for our success.”


On being “rock stars” when they came back:

“We were in our little bubble over there, just focusing on every game, and we weren’t really quite sure of the reception we were getting. When we got back to the States, it was so cool to see the reception and the way people were treating us. Everybody was talking about soccer, and we were seeing it on ESPN. It’s great to see. The sport has come a long way and it was great to be there from the beginning and see how far it has grown and to be a part of that.”


On advice she gives to current players:

“Savor the moment. When you’re in college you just look forward to being out there in the real world and I think for us, it’s such a rare opportunity to not only be able to play college sports but to be a Gator and put on this jersey.”

After some near misses, Florida got on the board in the 33rd minute. Freshman Tessa Andujar was near the top of the box and played a square ball out to Tymrak making a move down the right side. Tymrak took a couple of touches before scoring off a 17-yard shot to the far post.


“We try to work on give-and-gos in practice a lot, so Tessa held it up perfectly and gave it right back.” Tymrak said. “I just saw the opening in the left corner and nailed it.”


Florida scored its final two goals in an 11-minute span of the second half. The first started when the Red Raiders turned the ball over in the center of the field. Holly King took the ball and sent it forward to Tymrak. From there, Tymrak made a move down the field en route to her third assist of the season and second on a Taylor Travis goal.


“Erika got the ball. She picked up her head, and she has been working for us all night so I just wanted to put in some work in for her. I sprinted around and got the overlap. Then she played me an amazing ball… and I smacked the heck out of it!” Travis said. “There are two types of shots- you can either tuck it away or you can just hit it. Tonight I was thinking about tucking it away and I then decided “I’m just going to go for it and I hit it”. I knew where I wanted to hit it and that’s where it went in.”


For Travis, it was her third goal of the season – and third consecutive Friday evening with a goal.


Tymrak finished her scoring in the 67th minute, finishing the cross set up by an impressive flash of speed by senior Jazmyne Avant.


“Jazmyne is fast as heck. She got down the line, crossed it and McKenzie (Barney) was there near post, and Annie (Speese) was slot, so we had the whole box engrouped how it’s supposed to be. I was far post and got the end of it,” Tymrak said. “It was a great cross by Jazmyne.”


It was the second double-goal match for Tymrak as a Gator. Her first came in last season’s 2-1 overtime win over Georgia.


Freshman Taylor Burke turned in three saves Friday in her second start. She was aided in the 37th minute by junior All-American Kathryn Williamson, who cleared a Red Raider shot by Taylor Lytle off the line to help Florida to its third shutout of the season. TTU’s Victoria Esson posted five saves Friday.


A stolen look at the crowd before the team came out to the field had Florida excited play in front of their fans.


“There are no better fans than Gator fans. Honestly, it’s an amazing feeling to have all them out here. I hope we can have this big of a crowd again. It pumps us up so much,” Travis said. “We took a peek outside the door at the locker room and it was just huge today. It makes the whole team want to play better!”


UF Head Coach Becky Burleigh thought the team has some things to work on before their next match.


“We weren’t as sharp as I’d like to see us. I’m happy with the shutout, I’m happy to get three goals, but I just don’t think we were that sharp,” Burleigh said. “I think we took our foot off the gas a little bit.”


Florida continues its home stand next Friday by meeting its third top-20 opponent of this young season - No. 7 Florida State. Match time is set for 7 p.m. at Pressly Stadium. Admission is free for all 2011 Gator soccer regular-season matches.


The first 1,000 fans Friday receive “Beat FSU” sunglasses. Don’t miss the halftime show of the Soccer Collies, where the canine duo will showcase their soccer playing skills. The Gators will sign autographs post-match.


Adam Schick and Matthew Stubbington will cover the action live Friday on WRUF SportsRadio 850 and beginning at 6:50 p.m.


Scoring Summary:




Texas Tech










UF – Erika Tymrak (Tessa Andujar) 32:05

UF – Taylor Travis (Tymrak) 55:51

UF – Tymrak (Jazmyne Avant) 66:45








Texas Tech

Victoria Esson





Taylor Burke









Statistical Summary:

Texas Tech







Shots on goal








Corner Kicks














43:32 Cheyenne Diggs/TTU – yellow; 77:03 Team/TTU


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