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Mehler, Terriquez: The chiefs of the Tribe
Last year at this time, the Marysville High boys soccer program was in a state of flux.
In 2011, first-year coach Steve Tennis' biggest concern was being able to field a team. If the Indians were competitive and kept matches from getting out of hand, that was a plus.
Fast forward to Thursday afternoon at Marks Field — what a difference a year can make.
Marysville isn't just trying to be competitive this season, the Indians believe they can win matches and surprise some people in the Golden Empire League.
Their 5-0 drubbing of Faith Christian improved the Indians' record to 6-1. Marysville hasn't won more than five games in an entire season since 2006 when the Indians finished 11-4-3.
That was also Marysville's last Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearance.
Tennis knows all about winning soccer programs. He led Faith Christian to the school's only section title in 2000, earning A-D All-Area Coach of the Year accolades.
Following his club's 5-0 rout of his former program, Tennis said the Indians are strong at the most important positions on the pitch, up front and in the back.
His senior captains, forward Thomas Mehler and goalkeeper Freddy Terriquez, have both been outstanding through the first six games of the season.
"Having a goalie that can do what (Terriquez) can do allows all the other players on the field to have freedom and confidence," Tennis said, "and Thomas is so phenomenal up front."
Mehler backed up his coach's words.
An A-D All-Area selection last season, the Indians' speedster scored four of the team's five goals on Thursday and has 12 goals in seven games this season.
Mehler didn't waste any time on Thursday, scoring his first goal in the fifth minute. He extended Marysville's lead to 2-0 in the 34th minute.
Mehler scored on a pretty cross from Neil Lingenfelter in the 59th minute to make it 4-0 and ended his day with a score in the 63rd on a Nelson Vejar assist.
Vejar had the Indians' other goal with a score in the 36th minute to give Marysville a 3-0 lead at halftime.
"We came together as a team in March and we just did what Tennis wanted us to do, which is do the drills right and go hard in practice," Mehler said. "It starts with the captains, we all have to keep the team together and focused on what we want to go for."
Mehler and Terriquez are the Indians' only seniors.
Terriquez recorded his second shutout of the season and Tennis was also impressed with the defensive effort of junior captain Eddie Medina. Marysville outshot Faith (3-6-2) 25-9.
"They're all playing better as a team this year," Tennis said. "They like each other more and that's key."
Marysville ends its nonconference slate at home on Monday against Bear River before GEL play begins Monday, Sept. 24, in Citrus Heights against Mesa Verde.
The GEL is one of the toughest soccer leagues in the section. Case in point: Capital Christian and West Campus met for the Division V section championship last season, a game settled by penalty kicks.
"We've been playing pretty aggressive, everybody's playing hard," Terriquez said. "We've matured more and it shows in the game.
"We have heart — so far it's gotten us six wins."