She currently has 108 goals for her career.
Matanzas soccer player Alyssia Paiz entered the Pirates’ game against DeLand on Nov. 15 four scores shy of 100 goals for her high school career. She scored three quick goals against the Bulldogs, who are traditionally one of the area’s top teams.
On Paiz’s third goal, it was announced to the crowd at Matanzas High School that she needed one more goal to eclipse the century mark. Her sister Gabbi Paiz, who graduated in 2014, was the first in school history to accomplish that feat.
The Bulldogs’ forwards turned to their defenders and gave a direct order: Do everything to stop Paiz from scoring again.
While driving toward the net near the halfway point in the second half, Paiz had a chance to score but was wiped out in the penalty box and nearly broke her thumb.
The officials awarded her a penalty kick.
Twelve yards and open grass was all that stood in between Paiz and the Bulldogs’ goalie. Sounds simple enough, right?
“Alyssia is dedicated. She has a willingness to win. She comes to practice even if she’s not feeling 100%. I would love to see that out of every single one of our players. Every team needs a goal-scorer like that, and we’re blessed to have her.”
Matanzas coach Pawel Slusarz
On the outside, Paiz was calm, but on the inside, she was nervous. She’d been playing soccer for 14 years, including four years on the Pirates’ varsity team, and had only ever taken five penalty kicks, making three of them.
“I’m pretty well-known for bombing balls over the net,” she said. “I was telling myself that I could do this. I was beating the goalie the whole night. I knew this goalie: what she could do and what she couldn’t do. I just needed to keep it simple.”
She hit the ball hard and kept it low to the ground, tumbling toward the bottom left corner of the net. She stared at the ball as if it were traveling in slow motion. Each revolution felt like an eternity.
The Bulldogs’ goal keeper initially jumped to the right side of the goal when Paiz made contact with her kick. The slight movement in the wrong direction was all that was needed to throw off the keeper’s timing. She lunged toward the ball as far and as quickly as she could, but it rolled past the goal line just outside her fingertips.
The Pirates’ bench erupted, the crowd went wild, and Paiz celebrated with a knee slide across the field. Her teammates then dogpiled her.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.”
There wasn’t much time for celebration, however. Paiz quickly set her sights on breaking her sister’s career total of 104. Even more than eclipsing 100 goals, this was the record Paiz wanted to reach above everything. She got her chance when the Pirates faced Palatka on Nov. 30. Paiz delivered a ground ball into the bottom left corner of the net in the last few minutes of game.
“Gabbi didn’t want it to happen. But she knew it was going to,” she joked.
Paiz currently sits at 108 goals for her career and will continue to add to that total as the season goes on. But more importantly, she has bragging rights.
“My sister had a big reputation in soccer here,” she said. “And now, I have it.”