Expectations are always high at Loomis Chaffee.
The Pelicans have made it to the Elite 8 in nine consecutive seasons, going back to 2014. Last year, Liz Leyden's team fell to eventual champion Williston Northampton in the first round, finishing a 14-7-4 season.
Much of last season's success was buoyed by an 11-game unbeaten streak (8-0-3) to close out the regular season en route to the Elite 8. They were the only team to hand Williston any sort of blemish on their 27-0-1 record with a 2-2 tie on Feb. 18.
With seven freshmen playing key roles last year, the midseason improvement wasn't overly surprising in Leyden's eyes.
"We last year, started pretty slow and then really came on down the stretch," Leyden said. "When we play together, we're really hard to beat. I think often in the most challenging games, our team was one that typically rose to the opportunities. We're a team that often has done well being the underdog."