NEW MILFORD — Make no mistake, graduation losses or not, the New Milford high field hockey team is ready to take on all comers in its quest for another Southwestern Conference crown, but a little extra time to prepare for the season won’t hurt, either.

The Green Wave got a late start to the 2015 season, opening their SWC title defense on Thursday night at Pomperaug, the team they beat in the final a year ago.

Led by a group of 12 seniors, New Milford went 15-2-2 a season ago, and lost only to Bethel, 2-1, in the regular season and a 1-0 defeat to Darien in the Class L semifinals.

With three returning starters, there are plenty of things to figure out and new players to work into the lineup.

“There were some alternate game spots and it just worked out that way,” coach Dawn Hough said. “We have it packed in the next couple weeks instead. We’re ready, every day we just take care of business, wether we are practicing or playing, it doesn’t matter.”

The Green Wave return goalie Madison Corso, defender Laura Lyons and midfielder Brooke Landry. All-SWC first-team members Allie Noteware, Natalie Capriglione and Lindsey Heaton are among the departed seniors from last season, but there are nearly 50 players in the program and all but the freshmen came into preseason practice knowing what to expect.

This isn’t New Milford’s first time defending a title. In fact, it has happened with regularity in recent seasons and each new team picks up where the previous one left off.

“We are in a good spot, the kids know what is expected of them on a daily basis and our job just like everybody else is to improve every day,” Hough said.

Hough has a unique term for how she and her assistant coaches, Jen Wyslick and Nicole Madorran, get the team ready to face the SWC and prepare for a state tournament run.

“Every day we drop them in chaos and make them perform better the next time we drop them in chaos,” Hough said. “And that’s what we do every day, put them in chaos.”

Despite the later start to the season, the Green Wave will have six games under their belts by the end of the month, including tough matchups with Pomperaug, Newtown and Granby.

“We are improving every day, getting better and learning to play together,” Corso said. “Things are turning out pretty well so far. And for me, it’s great to have Laura back there with me, we play together really well and understand each other and what we like to do, so it works.”

Regardless of who the Green Wave are playing they won’t be sneaking up on anyone.

“Everyone wants to beat us,” Landry said. “We have a big target on our back but we’re ready for it. We can take it.”

“Every year we find a way to make it work,” Lyons added. “We’ll be ready.”