Mya Maack: ‘I’m looking for the goal’

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Story And Photo By Joe Kusek
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Junior Mya Maack has scored a state-best 36 goals this season. Entering the Class A state tournament, she is one shy of the Laurel single-season record.

Junior Mya Maack has scored a state-best 36 goals this season. Entering the Class A state tournament, she is one shy of the Laurel single-season record.

The best part are the celebrations.

Every time Mya Maack scores a goal, she throws her arms into the air and turns to her teammates.

“That feeling, oh my gosh, beating everybody …” said Maack of bettering a defense. “The best feeling is sharing with my teammates. The hugs, that’s the best part of the celebration.”

Maack has been hugged a lot this season.

Shouldering the scoring load for a team in transition, Maack has knocked home a state-best 36 goals, one shy of the singleseason scoring record for the Laurel girls’ soccer program.

The Locomotives finished 11-1 during the regular season and began their pursuit of a Class A state championship three-peat this week.

Laurel has played in seven consecutive state championship matches.

“I’m actually surprised I’ve gotten as many as I have,” Maack said of her prolific scoring.

The two-time all-state selection has developed a penchant of taking a pass from a teammate, moving from the middle of the pitch to the left, putting the ball on her left foot and angling a sharp kick, going high or low depending on the goalkeeper.

“It depends where I get the ball at my feet,” she said of her game plan on the fly. “Once the pass is there, I’m looking for the goal.”

Maack scored twice from the left side in the first half during Laurel’s 3-2 over Billings Central in the regular season finale.

“Mya has the mindset, ‘I want to score the goal,’ said Locomotive coach Tom Maack, who is also her father. “She has that inner ability to find the open corner.”

With track speed and basketball balance, Maack’s approach is simple.

“I try to get them (defender and goalkeeper) off balance. I try to trick them,” she said. “With the defender I kind of watch where she is going to move. Then I look at the goalie, I want to find the best place to shoot. What is she going to do?

“If we’re one-on-one, I try to get her to move and tap in.”

And Maack always has plenty of company on the pitch. Teams consistently throw double-and triple-teams at the high scorer.

“There is usually one behind me and one to the side,” she said. “There are usually two, three players around me. Then I play more of a passing role.”

Sometimes defenders are even closer.

“They’ll grab my jersey,” Maack added, showing off a cleat mark in her thigh, courtesy from a Livingston player from a match last week. “They always have a hand on my jersey.”

“I have to fight back a little bit,” she finished with a smile.

But Maack has learned to handle the extra attention.

“Last year, they would get in my head mentally and I struggled with that,” she said. “This year, I am handling it much better.”

Along with providing the bulk of the offense, Maack has other duties.

“I’m the team DJ,” she said. “I’m the speaker girl. I play some throwback music, Usher, Jason Derulo … to get everybody ready.

“I’ve been playing soccer a long time. I’ve created so many friendships.”

And while the goals keep piling up, she had 21 as a sophomore, Maack sees the entire pitch.

“The win is the bigger picture,” she said.

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