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Women's tackle football team beats Seattle Spartans in OT in long-awaited season opener on May 1 at Hare Field.

COURTESY PHOTO: STEVE ILG/PORTLAND FIGHTING SHOCKWAVE - Portland Fighting Shockwave rookie Veronika Miketova carries the ball on May 1 in the season opening 12-6 win over the Seattle Spartans at Hare Field in Hillsboro.Plenty of pent-up energy was let loose on Saturday, May 1 at Hare Field in Hillsboro.

After waiting almost two years to hit an opponent, the women of the Portland Fighting Shockwave began team's 20th season of tackle football with a 12-6 overtime win over the Seattle Spartans in a Women's Football Alliance game.

The winning touchdown in overtime was a fourth-down 6-yard pass from Hollie Petrie to Tess Bair after the Spartans turned over the ball.

Bair also threw a third-quarter touchdown pass to Taylor Timms that tied the score 6-6. As the score indicates, defense dictated the game, with both teams turning over the ball multiple times in each half.

A crowd estimated to be about 100 spectators watched the first of six scheduled games this spring for the Fighting Shockwave, who have seen significant roster turnover since winning seven of eight games in 2019. Only six of the 23 players on the season-opening roster have football experience.

Petrie and defensive end/tight end Bair are two of the veteran leaders. Others who have experience either with the Shockwave or other women's tackle football teams are Nevi Ball (wide receiver/linebacker), Ari Taylor (offensive guard/defensive end), Deseree Barcroft (receiver/nose tackle) and Coco Rallings (left tackle/linebackers).

The roster turnover wasn't limited to the field. Asia Wisecarver, who played for the Shockwave 19 years ago and has held several coaching/management positions, is the team's new head coach. Wisecarver, like the players, had to wait more than a year to debut with the Shockwave because COVID-19 forced the 2020 season to be canceled.

For many of the players, the preparation for the season started with online training sessions last spring and summer. Recently, the team had a half-dozen practices in full pads.

Wisecarver said the enthusiasm from her players has made the challenges of preparation in the COVID-19 era enjoyable. She has focused on fundamentals of blocking and tackling and said that not playing in 2020 gave the Fighting Shockwave time to focus on building "a foundation of fundamentals" for the less experienced players.

What the team lacks in experience, she said it makes up for with the excitement that comes with the newness of the game.

Through a year of virtual meetings to discuss offensive and defensive concepts, virtual conditioning sessions and just-for-fun virtual gatherings, Wisecarver said her team developed a strong sense of togetherness during the "preseason that never ends."

"Cohesiveness as a unit will help them overcome whatever adversities come up on the field," Wisecarver said.

Resiliency helped on Saturday when Seattle led 6-0 at halftime. Before the game, Wisecarver said the chance to play was "beyond exciting for us."

That is especially true for the newcomers: Kris Grimes, Taylor Timms, Paige Evans, Joeterika "Joe Joe" Grant, Jamie Hosley, Lexi Catton, Vanessa Palmeri, Veronika Miketova, Brielle "Breezy" Colllins, Julaine Gallucci, Julie Cohn, Loren Diaz, Carly Ilg, Tamara Knox, Summer Rose, Rose Turner and Milly Wahls.

Next up is a May 15 game at Hare Field against the Capital Pioneers from Salem, who won their debut game on May 1 by a score of 36-0 over a team from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at portlandfightingshockwave.com.


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