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Shockwave ready to kick off

Team starts second year with new coach, well-stocked bench

The Shockwave will play five regular-season home games, all at Beaverton High. The team has a new and enthusiastic head coach, Anthony Davis. It also has more players in camp than the league allows it to suit up for games.

'We have 56 players contracted right now; I think our high last year was 26,' Davis says. 'We can only suit 45.'

The newfound depth, he says, should make a big difference in the fortunes of a team with championship aspirations.

'Toward the end of last season, we were a MASH unit,' says Davis, the defensive coach in 2002. 'We were not healthy at all.'

Shockwave players too often were forced to play both offense and defense. They wore down in three close losses to rival Tacoma.

'We didn't have Tacoma's numbers,' Davis says. 'There's no X's and O's that can control that.'

Even then, he says, 'It was always a play or two. They know that. Tacoma knows that.'

Where do the players come from, and why?

The women say many things draw them to the harsh, hard-hitting landscape of the gridiron: the pure sense of adventure, the challenge football presents to athletes accomplished in other sports, and a nose-thumbing defiance that women can tackle the job.

'It's my childhood dream,' Vanden Berg says.

And, like other athletes in team sports, Shockwave players say they enjoy being part of a group with a shared goal.

'The dedication level of the players is impressive,' says 40-year-old rookie Lisa Lum, who is probably the team's best athlete, according to Davis. 'We're out there in the cold and the rain and the mud. Women are out there playing something they're not expected to be doing. Everybody's out there for the love of the game.'

Emily Schwartz, one of four team owners, says many Shockwave players are 'really baffled by the level of seriousness. They have to pick up their intensity.'