Miyuki Hino ’12 gets the ball rolling.
Just seven weeks into her Yale career, Hino has led the women’s soccer team (5-5-1, 1-2 Ivy) to their first Ancient Eight victory of the season. She was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on Monday.
Hino, who has played center-midfield for the whole season thus far, switched to forward during last weekend’s game against Dartmouth. It may have been this switch that landed the women’s soccer team its first Ivy League win of the season. Hino scored both of Yale’s goals, leading the Bulldogs to a 2-0 victory over the Big Green.
Although she was flattered to be named Ivy League Rookie of the Week following the Dartmouth game, Hino kept the honor in perspective.
“I was really excited when I heard [about the award]. It was such a great feeling for me, being a freshman.” she said in an interivew on Wednesday. “But clearly, the most important thing that came to mind is that we won the game. It wouldn’t have mattered that I had scored two goals if we had still lost 3-2.”
Luckily for the other women on the team, this Bulldog hasn’t left anything at home. The Bethesda, M.D., native, scored 21 goals in her senior season alone and was named MVP of her high school’s team. She was also a two-time first team All-Independent School League.
“Miyuki brings a different dimension to the game in the fact that she’s very technically skilled and is shifty on the field,” captain Emma Whitfield ’09 said. “As an offensive player, she’s hard to read because she has great foot skills.”
Perhaps it is Hino’s combination of modesty, passion and fancy footwork that has allowed her to succeed on the field. Whitfield said Hino’s hard work in practice has had visible payoffs during games.
With hours of practice similar to those of a full-time job, it might be hard to be a student as well. But Hino insisted that, if anything, soccer is helping her through freshman year.
“It’s obviously a major time commitment, but without a doubt, being on the team made my transition easier,” she said. “[Getting] familiar with the campus before school started definitely helped, [and] it’s nice to have a group of people that you know really well already.”
Head coach Rudy Meridith said that Hino’s performance on the field has improved on a daily basis.
“Miyuki has been a great teammate,” Meridith said. “She’s working really hard, and she’s been a great freshman to have — she deserved to be Rookie of the Week.”
Hino said her role as a center-midfielder includes controlling the ball’s speed and maintaining its position on the field. The forward, however, can be more creative because of her objective to score goals by any means necessary. Hino has played both positions on the team here, and she attributed the team’s wins to good communication and interplay between the two positions.
But in addition to good game-time cooperation, the women have also formed close relationships outside of Reese Stadium.
“Out of all the years I’ve played soccer, this is the best team I’ve ever been a part of,” Hino said. “It’s hard to get a group of 25 girls together and to have us all get along. The ability of our team to get together off the field definitely contributes to what we’re able to do on the field.”
Hino and her teammates will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday to face Cornell (1-8-1, 0-3 Ivy). Hino said the Bulldogs are not taking anything for granted, and the team hopes to continue the momentum they’ve recently picked up.
Meridith said a stronger start from the Bulldogs right from the beginning of the game will increase Yale’s chances of bringing home a road victory — one that will have Hino in the picture, no doubt.
“Miyuki knows that she is an offensive threat in the game,” he said.