WHITEMARSH — A season ago, there were few expectations surrounding the Plymouth Whitemarsh High boys soccer team.
That's likely because there have rarely been any expectations about the Colonials club.
In fact, some of those around the school a year ago weren't quite sure there was a team, and who the head coach was.
On the verge of the 2014 season, however, the perception of Colonials soccer has changed.
A 15-win season and the program's first-ever victory in the District One playoffs in the program's first trip to districts in 30 years has a tendency to attract attention.
And this year, with eight of 11 starters returning, the Colonials are no longer an unknown commodity.
"The spirits are high, expectations are high, but we're keeping things in perspective,' said PW head coach Devon Landgraff.
"We're very excited,' added co-captain and midfielder Alex Bilodeau. "We have a lot of seniors and a lot of experienced players back.
"We're hoping for a great year.'
Those hopes were non-existent a year ago, when the Colonials shocked even themselves with one of the program's best seasons in decades.
"A lot of people didn't really know very much about PW soccer,' Bilodeau said. "Some of our teachers didn't know we had a team and who the coach was.'
Double-figure wins in the regular season, a share of the Suburban One League American Division crown with Upper Dublin and a berth in the District One playoffs soon had the school and the community fully aware of the program's existence.
And this year, Landgraff and his team are trying to take the next step forward by employing an attacking system.
"We're trying some different things, some different formations,' the coach said. "We're looking to be a little more dynamic team.'
"We have so many guys back, and the team chemistry is good,' Bilodeau added. "We want to give our guys more opportunities to finish.
"We have to depend on our defense to stay strong, so (the attack) can push forward.'
The enthusiam, Bilodeau said, has stayed strong through a hard-working summer.
"We're trying to stay humble,' the midfielder said. "We know nothing is guaranteed.'
On Thursday the Colonials scrimmage Lower Merion, and the Colonials are looking forward to the test.
"We're going to try some new things, some new formations,' Bilodeau said. "(Lower Merion) is a great opponent and we want to see how we stack up.'