The Irvine Valley women's golf team captured the first state championship in program history last year.
But IVC Coach Ben Burnett said his 2011-12 squad has the potential to be even better.
"I am certainly optimistic that we can repeat as conference champions, move through the regionals and get to the state," Burnett said. "That would be our goal."
Irvine Valley, which also won its first ever Southern California regional title a year ago, rallied from five shots down after the first day to defeat College of the Canyons by four strokes for the state crown last season at Los Serranos in Chino Hills.
IVC will be without its best player from last season. Orange Empire Conference and Southern California player of the year Nicole Rivera has moved on to play at Cal State Fullerton.
But Irvine Valley has four players back from last year's squad, including three all-conference selections.
They are Chelsea Kasprowicz, Foya Lazare and Taylor Moore.
Kasprowicz tied with Rivera for medalist honors on the final day of the Orange Empire Conference finals, which IVC won, last year.
Lazare was the medalist on the first day of conference finals last season.
Kasprowicz averaged 79.9 strokes per round last season during conference, Moore finished at 83.2 and Lazare was at 83.9.
"They are going to lead us," Burnett said. "All are very good players. They are looking forward to going after another great season."
The other player from last year's squad that is back is Ashley Penner, who Burnett said is much improved.
Toni Honnes, who red-shirted last season, is another part of this year's group.
"I am quite pleased with how she has developed," Burnett said.
And Burnett has two standout freshmen that are expected to be a big part of the team.
Sally Kim from Cypress High and Halle Young from Marina High were each named second team all-Orange County last season.
Young and Kim each shot the lowest scores at a recent IVC practice round, according to Burnett.
"I am very pleased with the two new girls," Burnett said. "They are both playing quite well. They are game ready. I like what I am seeing."
The Lasers open the season on Sunday in the two-day South Coast Classic at Buenaventura in Ventura.
"There will be some other good teams so it will give us a good look at them," Burnett said. "it will give us an idea of how we stack up."
Burnett said he expects Saddleback, Santa Barbara and College of the Canyons to be among the other top teams in Southern California.
"The keys for us are going to be keeping everybody healthy and getting better as the season goes on," Burnett said.