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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Gators' offense overcomes slow first half

It took 79 agonizing minutes, but Erika Tymrak scored her first college goal to put the Gators up 2-0 over Florida International on Friday night.

Tymrak's roommate, Brooke Thigpen, added the third goal, capping off a 3-0 victory for Florida (2-0-0).

Tymrak and Thigpen both said they felt a sense of relief to get the first college goals out of the way early.

"I was feeling lucky tonight," Tymrak said. "I told Brooke before the game, I was like 'I feel it.'"

In the 6th minute, Tymrak received a pass from teammate Ashley Elliott and appeared likely to score her first goal, but an offsides call postponed the freshman's first score.

"I wasn't having the best game, so I was trying to refocus myself when I got back in there," Tymrak said.

Despite the lopsided win, the Gators looked sluggish in the first half, unable to capitalize on offensive opportunities. Two of the Gators three goals came on free kicks.

The Panthers threatened with four corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of play, but UF goalkeeper Katie Fraine held down her fort for the Gators with three saves and no goals allowed.

"We allowed the pace to be too slow in the first half, which is what FIU wanted," UF coach Becky Burleigh said.

UF's first goal came on a Lindsay Thompson header off a deflected shot in the 62nd minute. Senior Angela Napolitano, who had two assists, took a free kick and FIU's goalkeeper Melanie Raimo managed to stop the shot, but Thompson was there to head it in.

"I think we have a lot of dynamic players that can create offense for us, whether those are defenders or forwards or midfielders," Burleigh said.

Napolitano also had the assist in Tymrak's goal.

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In two games this year, the Gators have scored four goals in the second half but have yet to score in the first half.

"Part of our style is we're going to score more goals in the second half than we do in the first half," Burleigh said.

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