For Anisa Babar, playing collegiate soccer was about more than the competition itself — the wins and losses.
After a senior season in which the central defender helped Whitworth University finish fourth in the Northwest Conference and garnered a pair of impressive honors, she said that being part of a team and the memories made are what she will remember most.
“My fondest memories will always be the experiences and camaraderie with my teammates and coaching staff at Whitworth University,” she said. “My collegiate soccer has now ended, but the friendships developed over the four years will last forever. Being part of a successful soccer program in a tough soccer conference also is memorable.”
Babar — who moved to Vancouver at age 4 and attended Our Lady of Lourdes here before enrolling in Portland’s Jesuit High School — was named the NWC Defender of the Year by conference coaches and First Team All-West Region for NCAA Division III by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). She was earlier named Second Team All-NWC as a sophomore and First Team as a junior. In addition to playing at Jesuit, Babar played for the Columbia Premier Soccer Club of Vancouver and premier Oregon club Westside Metros.
The rest of the 12-player All-Region First Team consists entirely of athletes from California Lutheran (five), Hardin-Simmons of Texas (four) and Trinity of Texas (two). Only six of the 40 athletes honored on the first, second and third teams are from Oregon or Washington.
Whitworth was 8-6-4 in Babar’s senior season, 8-4-4 in NWC play. The Pirates were conference runners-up in each of Babar’s first three years, with a combined record of 46-12-1.
The Pirates had three head coaches in the past four seasons, Sean Bushey in 2008, Daman Hagerott in 2009-10 and Jael Hagerott in 2011.
“I think I contributed the best I could to the team during the past four seasons,” Babar said. “I am satisfied overall. I feel I played some of my best soccer for Whitworth University. But soccer is a team effort and having other talented teammates helped. As a team, we always played hard in every game and were always close to the top of the conference all four years.
“Winning the conference championship would have been great, but we were a close second a couple of times. Nonetheless, I am proud of our teammates effort over the four years. We gave it our best.”
She found out about her postseason honors in phone calls from friends — a teammate for the NWC honor and a friend who plays for the Whitworth men’s team for the national recognition. While the honors are nice, she said they are not only for her individually.
“I was surprised and definitely excited,” Babar said of hearing about the conference honor. “Receiving an individual honor was a great feeling, but the honor also goes to my teammates and the coaching staff. I would not have been possible without a team effort and the great coaching.”
She was on her way home for Christmas break when she got the call about the NSCAA honor.
“I was excited about the news,” she said. “Ending my senior year with that honor was a great feeling of accomplishment.”
The lessons of time management and dedication Babar learned while crossing the Columbia River to attend Jesuit and play for Westside Metros were worth the effort, she said.
“I had a great experience at Jesuit High School, athletically and academically,” Babar said. “The commute and traffic was definitely a hassle and added some extra stress. Thanks to my parents who drove me the first few years. School would end than soccer practice would begin, ending with a long drive home in rush hour traffic.
“It was exhausting and left little time for dinner, homework, shower, and bed. However, I did learn to understand the importance of time management and planning ahead with my schoolwork. I spent many hours doing homework in the car. Learning to manage my time between sports and academics was extremely beneficial when I got to Whitworth University.”
The Spokane school was a great fit, she said, in terms of both academics and athletics in a small school environment.
Babar is currently in Costa Rica for Whitworth’s “January Term” study abroad program, taking a class in Spanish medical terminology for her health sciences major. She is also doing an internship with the professional soccer Club Sport Heredia in that city, working with the team’s athletic training/physical therapy staff.
She is on track to graduate in the spring, and has applied to a graduate program in Occupational Therapy.
Walter gives team win for 21st birthday
Vancouver players made a big impact on a Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges South Division basketball game Saturday at Albany, Ore.
Skyview High School graduate Paul Walter celebrated his 21st birthday with 26 points and 11 rebounds to lead visiting Clackamas to an 86-75 victory over Linn-Benton.
Taylor Dunn added 16 points for the Cougars, while his former Mountain View High School teammate Joe Vance had 24 points an dsix assists for the Roadrunners.
Dunn is fourth in the NWAACC in scoring at 23.1 points a game.
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