West Windsor, N.J. - A pair of 2-0 weeks for Mercer County Community College’s men’s and women’s soccer teams came to a head on Oct. 1, when freshman Giuliana Pocino and Sophomore Eiichi Yamaguchi were voted National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 19 Players of the week.
Between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, Pocino led the Lady Vikings to a 2-0 record, posting three goals and an assist. Yamaguchi led men’s soccer with two goals of his own, while setting up four of his teammates to score.
For Pocino, the award comes as a reminder of the support and encouragement she’s had since arriving at Mercer.
“I’m coming off of tearing my ACL last August in high school,” Pocino said. Competitively, she hadn’t played since the 2017-18 school year, when she scored six goals and an assist during the Nottingham North Stars 9-8 season.
“Being able to play with women of such skill and character has truly made me a better player,” Pocino said. Her teammates' support was apparent on Friday, Oct. 5, when Pocino tallied her season-high six goals in a 12-3 victory over the County College of Morris.
“I couldn’t do anything without my teammates and their constant support on and off the field,” Pocino added.
Yamaguchi similarly sung the praises of his teammates supporting his efforts this season.
“I’ve found success in scoring this season, but there are still games when I struggle, especially against bigger teams,” Yamaguchi said. Though his 18 goals place him fourth in the nation in goals and first in the country in points (48 points), Yamaguchi has been held scoreless four times through the Vikings first 13 games.
“When I struggle with scoring, my teammates are always around me, and that helps me a lot,” Yamaguchi said. “And I feel I have my coaches trust, and that feeling pushes to play even harder.”
“I couldn’t do anything without their support.”
Pocino and the Lady Vikings will return home on Saturday, Oct. 5 against the Community College of Baltimore County Essex at noon. Yamaguchi and the men’s team will host Manor College on Wednesday Oct. 9 at 3:30 p.m.