Fremont soccer players Mariah and Mikayla Elmer play with a connection that only siblings can enjoy.
From her center-mid position, Mikayla directs traffic with exquisite footwork, often pushing passes into space where she knows only her sister Mariah can reach.
The girls are close, separated by position and about nine months in age.
Mariah Elmer and her brother, Mike, are African American, and were adopted by Micki and Dave Elmer when they were 5 days old. Mikayla is from China and became an Elmer at 5.
"I can say to people that genetically I didn't have anything to do with this," said mom Micki Elmer. "I'm not athletic, but my children are."
The Elmers live in an old LDS church, and the two sisters, born on separate continents, honed their craft by practicing for hours on the old church's gym floor.
Blessed with great feet, and an uncommon understanding of the game for someone so young, Mikayla Elmer has the best vantage point of her sister's exploits.
"Mariah can outrun anyone," she said. "I'll play a ball to her where only she can get to it, and she's going to score no matter what."
After a four-goal campaign in 2011, Mariah Elmer has 10 goals through six games and said her sister is a big part of the offensive explosion.
"Mikayla is very good technically, and when she gets past someone she plays perfect balls up to me that give me opportunities to score," Mariah said.
First-year coach Lativa Palmer wasn't around to witness the Silverwolves' Region I co-championship with Davis in 2011, but said she's been impressed with what the sisters are capable of.
"Mikayla is one of our captains and she elevates everyone's game because she's so smart and knows the game so well," said Palmer. "Mariah is our playmaker, and in our time of need we go to her because she's going to deliver."
The Silverwolves finished their nonregion schedule with a 4-2 record, their only blemishes coming 5-4 to Box Elder and 4-3 to Alta.
After winning just one match in the 2011 5A state tournament, the Elmers and their Fremont teammates are aiming for a deep run in state tournament play.
"We're building off of the success we had last season," said Mikayla Elmer. "We've had a difficult nonregion schedule and everyone on this team has been working hard to go as deep into the state tournament as we possibly can."
Fremont opens its Region 1 schedule today, playing host to Northridge.
Elmer sisters elevating Silverwolves
Fremont's Mariah Elmer underwent two knee surgeries in December of her freshman season and was slow to recover with just four goals in her sophomore campaign. Now fully recovered, Elmer is off to a terrific start with 10 goals through six games.
Mikayla and Mariah Elmer lead a dangerous Fremont squad into region play this week. Fremont and Davis were co-champions of Region 1 in 2011.