That's what North Carroll field hockey was all about last season.
The Panthers went from the doldrums of a 3-9 record in 1991 to the bright lights of an 8-4-2 mark and a berth in the state 2A regional final.
First-year coach Denean Powelson was celebrated as the All-Metro Coach of the Year and the Carroll County Coach of the Year.
Powelson said the season was so exciting that she wanted to begin practice for 1993 the day after North Carroll lost to Glenelg in the Region I title game.
Those kind of seasons don't come along too often for coaches or players.
All of which leaves one wondering what Powelson and the Panthers can do for an encore.
"We're not trying to top it," said Powelson. "Last season is over and now we're looking ahead, not back. I talked about last season with our players before our first practice and then I told them to forget it."
However, it's certain that none of the opponents who were stung by surprising North Carroll last season will forget -- especially Westminster, South Carroll and Middletown, who were defending state champions and lost to the Panthers.
North Carroll won't sneak up on anyone this year.
Surprises or not, this team might just have enough talent to win the county championship.
South Carroll coach Stacy Stem labeled North Carroll and Francis Scott Key as the two top teams on paper in the county this season.
Powelson said: "I agree we have talent but everybody has talent in this county. And Westminster has good coaching [longtime co-coaches Brenda Baker and Sue Hooper]."
Nine top players return from last season's North Carroll squad, led by junior midfielder Jill Ballard and junior forward Amber Bosley.
Ballard and Bosley were in the middle of almost everything North Carroll did right last season, as were senior midfielder Laura Burkhouse and junior forward Laurie Kreseski.
The goalkeeping is in sound hands, with senior Holly Serravalle returning for a third year.
The other four key players back from last season are senior forwards Amy Heffner, Valerie Aberts and Christina Carroll and senior defender Erin Deigert.
However, sweeper Emily Fair has graduated and Powelson is worried about the Panthers' defense.
"Defense is our main concern," said Powelson. "Almost everybody is new on defense. The kids know they have to do even better this season for us to win."