“If you don’t at first succeed, try, try again.”
That adage is applicable to all aspects of life, but especially to Matoaca High School soccer forward Maiya Pencile in the Warriors’ 8-3 win over L.C. Bird last week.
On her run to the goal, Pencile kicked the ball toward the back of the net and saw it deflect off the Skyhawks’ goalie. However, the 5-5 senior was able to control the rebound, kicking it over the goalie’s head for a goal. It was the 127th of her career, setting a Virginia High School League record for goals scored.
“I knew my name was on the list, and I knew I had a chance to break the record,” Pencile said. “To think that my name could be on top of that list, it was incredible. To even be on it was an honor.”
Pencile plays under coach Erin Kutsko, who has watched Pencile develop since her freshman year. However, Pencile’s soccer career started on the fields of the Chester YMCA at age 7. Her mother, Christina Pencile, said that the sport quickly grew into more than “just a hobby.”
Playing co-ed soccer is something to which Pencile credits her success.
“At first the boys didn’t give me any opportunities, so I knew that whenever I did get an opportunity I had to capitalize on it,” she said. “I knew I needed to beat them with speed because size wasn’t going to cut it.”
“She just had a natural talent,” recalls Christina Pencile. “At first, the boys didn’t pay her much attention, but they quickly realized that they needed to play defense on her or she was going to score.”
One of the results of Pencile’s high school soccer career is continuing at the college level. She will play at Shenandoah University. The school spotted Pencile when she was playing for a travel team, the Richmond Kickers, at the Jefferson Cup during her junior season. Hampton University also showed interest in the junior.
“She is a very technical and talented player,” Kutsko said. “She’s extremely athletic and fast. She has great footwork and is able to see the field well and distribute the ball. She takes quality shots.”
With 13 games left in her high school career, Pencile has an opportunity to put the record out of reach, and perhaps her name will be perched atop VHSL records for years to come.