Several years of contention for South-West Conference and state honors are now but sweet history for the New Milford High School volleyball team.

This fall, coach Lisa Stein's inexperienced Green Wave is doing its best to learn the ropes in action, all the while looking ahead to a return to those recent halcyon days.

A three-game loss Oct. 14 to Weston at NMHS dropped the girls' ledger to 1-10 heading into last Friday's match at New Fairfield.

"The team works hard," reflected coach Stein, "has the desire to win and produces well when in synch. Our struggle is to maintain that and get ahead before falling behind by too many points."

Perhaps typical of their performance to date was an Oct. 9 defeat to visiting Bethel, 25-12, 25-18, 25-20, a match during which the Green Wave at times appeared the better team but couldn't maintain its momentum (see photographs).

The SWC playoffs and state tournament qualification are no longer possible this fall so coach Stein and Co. are striving to do the best they can to finish the season in style.

Helping to keep it going have been seniors Maria Ortiz and Shelby Roberts.

"With Maria being our only returning starter," said coach Stein, "she has taken on the role of leading the fight through each game and trying to keep a balance on the court."

"Shelby, who transferred to New Milford last year, has also done a great job on defense and working hard through each game," praised her coach.

The Green Wave was scheduled Monday to host Pomperaug and Wednesday was set to visit Stratford. Following a home date yesterday (Thursday) with Brookfield, the girls will travel Monday to Milford to challenge Lauralton Hall.

"We have had a difficult schedule to contend with, given the fact that we are a young and inexperienced team," concluded coach Stein. "All the girls are very positive and I think they will continue to play well."

-- Norm Cummings