A year could not have made a bigger difference for Glenelg Country School's field hockey team.
The Dragons have staged one of the season's most amazing turnarounds, rebounding from 3-6-1 last year to post an 8-1-1 record.
With yesterday's 4-0 win over defending Association of Independent Schools B Division tournament co-champion Oldfields, the Dragons remain unbeaten in the B Division through three of five league games. It was their first win ever against Oldfields.
Interestingly, the seeds for Glenelg's drastic changes were sowed in last year's tournament, said Glenelg coach Patty Ordonez.
"Last year, I said they had a lot of talent, but they didn't have the confidence. Ending up last year winning that first game of the tournament when they'd had such a terrible season really boosted morale," she said.
"They learned what it was like to come together and work as a team. They have that now and on top of that they've got the confidence."
Yesterday, the Dragons showed the elements of a winning team -- potent offense, stingy defense and quick-to-the-ball midfield. But all of that did not come together until their hosts gave them an early scare.
Oldfields controlled most of the first 15 minutes and narrowly missed on three straight setups, including a couple on penalty corners, by Holly Perzynski. Liberty Mullin took a shot off the second corner pass, but a defender deflected it just wide.
On Perzynski's perfect crossing pass two minutes later, Corbett Plaxico hit the side of the cage.
For Oldfields (0-8-1 overall, 0-3 league), finishing has been a problem.
"Most of our scores have been very low," said Oldfields coach Betsy Jennings, whose team has lost six one-goal games. "We have an incredible defense, but our offense is a mix of old players and new players and we just haven't quite gotten it together."
Oldfields did get some solid defensive performances, especially from sweeper Lacy Winn, back Mullin and link Annie Finney. The game was a two-goal game until the final 2 1/2 minutes.
The one player Oldfields' defense could not contain was right wing Carrie Everett, who finished with a game-high one goal and two assists.
The junior repeatedly carried the ball down the wing past two or three defenders. With 10:27 to go in the first half, she beat four defenders between midfield and the circle and chipped a pass right to the post, where Allison Hoke tapped it in.
In the second half, the Dragons dominated with a strong offensive push from links Smita Sharma and Megan Duzor.
Midway through the second half, Everett made it 2-0 when she scored on a feed from Kiron Mallya. Everett again assisted Hoke for the final goal after Sehla Ashai scored on a rebound.
After the first 15 minutes of the game, Oldfields rarely penetrated the Dragons' defense as Glenelg outshot Oldfields, 9-4.
The Glenelg defense of sweeper Laura Mullitz and backs Robin Zimmerly, Joyelle McCullogh and Jessica Brendel was so efficient that keeper Heather Sutherland never had to make a save.
Zimmerly cleared away everything Oldfields sent her way. In the second half, she single-handedly stymied two early scoring drives. Once on a penalty corner, Zimmerly rushed out to hit away Caroline Jones' cross attempt. When her drive rebounded off an Oldfields stick, she cleared that away, too.
The Dragons have three games, including league games at Lutheran and John Carroll, remaining before the B Division tournament begins Nov. 11.