“There’s been multiple changes that have occurred within our program from the coaching change and just the mentality of everyone on the team,” Barber said. “Whatever the coaches have implemented, we’ve responded really well to it, and that’s a big reason why so many other people, not just including me, have gotten so many amazing awards.”
The 5-foot-1 Barber registered eight goals and seven assists while tallying two defensive saves in her junior campaign that led to her First Team All-Region selection. Her versatility on the field was a key component for the Hoosiers’ success, as IU relied on her stick work and aggressiveness all season long.
Barber’s teammates, senior defender Sydney Supica and freshman goalkeeper Noëlle Rother, were also indispensable to IU as their play landed them to Second Team All-Region selections. Barber credited Supica as one of the players that took her under her wing as a freshman, which led her to be the player that she is today.
“Seeing the struggle she’s gone through and how she’s bounced back and been so successful in her career, not just in field hockey, but in life too,” Barber said about Supica. “I think it’s really inspirational how far she’s come and what she’s contributed to everyone, not just me.”
The junior captain earned Third Team All-American honors and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award after her essential performance in wins against two conference foes, Ohio State and Penn State, when she racked up two goals and one assist during the two game stretch. As one of the shortest starters on the IU roster, Barber packs a punch on her phenomenal straight shot coming off penalty corners. IU turned to her all season as she racked up six goals and five assists off penalty corners.
“She’s one of those hard-nose, tough defenders who’s just grinding it out in the backfield, making so many good plays and so many good attacking plays for us as well,” IU Coach Amanda Janney said. “As a team leader she’s just been so strong for us. She’s a good coach, a good teammate and encourager. She holds the team to a higher standard, which is something this team needs more of.”
Barber’s durability speaks volumes about her play and has earned the respect of her coaches and teammates. In her three years in Bloomington, she has started in all of the Hoosiers’ 52 games, and the offensive spark came for the first time this season as her goal total quadrupled and her shots increased from 14 to 50 in just one season.
“It’s really awesome to see how she’s excelled these past couple of years especially as a junior captain,” Supicia said. “It’s awesome to see how she’s performing. Just in general her play has been awesome, she’s been very consistent for us, which is incredible, especially as a center back not only being consistent on defense but on offense too.”
As IU graduates four starters from this year’s team, including Supica, the Hoosiers will turn to Barber along with junior midfielder Mollie Getzfread as their senior leaders in 2016. The pair will be IU’s only returning captains next year.
“There’s definitely really big shoes to fill. I think coming from Mollie and I as captains the connections between us and just everyone being able to step up and have different leadership roles will play a really big part in being successful next year,” Barber said. “Just building off of how far we’ve come and all the progress we’ve made it’ll be awesome next year, and I’m really excited for my senior year.”