For Delran, which has had middling results in years past, the improvements come in a year-round effort to create a family atmosphere.
"We're selling to them that it's a family type of environment," Bruno said. "Everything that we're doing is year-round. We'll send them Christmas cards, stocking stuffers; we went down the Shore for a day another time.
"We keep contact with the players all year. It's important for them to feel like a family and a part of something."
In addition, players are continuing to play even after the high school season ends in November.
"We have a real core group of juniors and seniors who are committed to play year-round instead of three months a year," Bruno said.
"A lot of them are playing Futures. I'll always come. Just to show I care as much out of the season as I do during the season."
While homecoming might be the goal this season, Bruno has much larger aspirations for the program.
"We want you [players] thinking you are better than you were before," Bruno said. "We can't just accept losing."
Spirit's school. Eastern junior Karlee Spirit made a commitment last weekend to attend Wake Forest on a field hockey scholarship.
Spirit, an athletic midfielder who is a member of the U.S. under-17 national team, said she knew Wake Forest was right for her when she stepped on campus during a visit over the weekend.
"They say when you know, you know," Spirit said. "As soon as I visited that place, I knew it was right for me. It just screamed success for me."
Spirit said she also seriously considered Syracuse.
Scoring share. St. Joseph, which won the Cape-Atlantic National division the past two seasons, is off to another strong start. But its approach has been different.
"A lot of people say different faces but same outcomes," coach John DeMarco said. "But this year is totally different.
"We had trouble scoring with our front line. The last two years, we had to center around one or two people to score. Now, with our front line, we have a lot of different scorers."
The Wildcats, who were 6-0 entering Tuesday's action, appear to feature a more balanced attack this season. Molly Mullee leads the team with nine goals. Carlina Sacco and Marielena Dottoli each have eight. Gina Smith has scored seven, and Emily DeMarco, the coach's daughter, has six.
"It makes it easier for me as a coach," John DeMarco said. "I know that I can do and practice more than one drill. A few different girls know what I want them to do in the scoring areas."
John DeMarco credits the dedication of the players, many of whom play multiple sports and continue to play field hockey throughout the year.
"We have won our division the last two years in a row. We are now 45-3 over the last 21/2 seasons.
"Right now, we're 6-0. It's the dedication of the players. Coaching is only 10 percent. Ninety percent is the players buying into my philosophy."
Contact Nick Carroll at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.
Staff writer Phil Anastasia contributed to this article.