When Allie Barber arrived for the start of her high school career, girls soccer was still a spring sport in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
That meant most preseason practices were conducted indoors while teams waited for fields to be ready at about the same time the first games were scheduled.
Even in that setting, Pittston Area coach Nicole Tieso “instantly” knew she had a special player.
“I knew a little about her before the first practices,” Tieso said. “But, just seeing her speed and her ball-control; we were practicing in the gym, but you knew she had it in her.
“You could see what she was capable of.”
What Barber was capable of was piling up goals. She has reached 100 for her career – a milestone far less common than 1,000 points in basketball – with more than a season and a half remaining.
Barber celebrated in a post-game celebration that including the presentation of a commemorative ball and balloons. The milestone came early in the game, however, when she scored four of the team’s five goals in the opening 6:38 of a 14-2 rout over Freeland MMI Monday.
The junior forward arrived at the mark by scoring the last two goals 37 seconds apart to give her three in a span of 1:42.
An assist from Jenny Meck created the latest Barber breakaway goal.
“It was me on the keeper and I placed it on the right,” Barber said.
Barber has actually found scoring goals ever-so-slightly more difficult as her high school career has progressed.
She had the rare accomplishment of 89 goals in a calendar year when she scored 46 as a freshman in the spring of 2012 to lead the WVC. She was second to Ashley Dunbar of Dallas with 43 in the first WVC’s first fall season.
Barber gets plenty of attention and defenses are much less inclined to risk trying to trap her offsides because doing so gives her a chance to use her speed and get behind them in a hurry.
“I know I have speed so a lot of times it’s just instinctive, so it’s something I like to do,” Barber said. “When I see it, it’s just an opportunity.
“From my freshman year until now, it’s been rougher because they are playing me completely different. But, we’re adjusting. That’s what our team is working on.”
Depending on the time of the year, Barber is going to be found achieving in some type of athletic setting and winning with a talented group of female athletes currently at Pittston Area.
Barber is point guard on the basketball team, which tied for first place in Division 1 of the WVC last winter. She is also sprinter on the track and field team that won the WVC Division 1 title in the spring.
In soccer, the Lady Patriots won a Division 3 title in Barber’s freshman season and have handled a transition to a tougher schedule. They placed third of 16 teams in the league last fall and are currently fifth with a 3-1-1 start.
“If I didn’t have the team I have, I wouldn’t get set up all the time,” Barber said.
Barber has used the combination of speed and ball-handling to produce different types of success in the two sports she works on outside the high school season by playing on club teams. She has played soccer since she was 6 and basketball since she was a fourth-grader.
On the basketball court, Barber has set up her teammates, distributing the ball while being more likely to assist a score by someone else. In soccer, Barber moved from center midfield to forward early in her freshman season, immediately started producing multiple-goal games and never went back to the play-making role.
Barber aspires to prove she can serve both roles in both sports. There may be more points in her basketball future and more assists ahead in soccer as she draws the attention that goes with being a 100-goal scorer.
“I like to think I’m both,” Barber said. “In basketball, I’m a point guard so I don’t necessarily score all the time, I’d rather assist. In soccer, if there’s an open girl, any time, I don’t care if I don’t get the goal; an assist is just as good.
“You want to be well-rounded.”
Wyoming Area 4
Hazleton Area 1
The Warriors scored the lone goal in the first half Wednesday and held on to pressure for the victory.
Wyoming Area struck quickly in the the second half, scoring three times within 10 minutes. Hazleton scored 14 minutes into the 2nd half on a penalty kick by Madison Polumbo. The Warriors’ Caitlin Butchi made nine saves for the victory. Hayley Wilkinson made 13 saves in defeat.
Pittston Area 14
MMI Prep 2
Ten different Pittston Area players scored goals against the Preppers Monday.
Allie Barber came through with four of her own, and Maddy Mimnaugh collected a goal and three assists.
Joey Kress and Mikyla Dave scored for MMI Prep.
Holy Redeemer 9
Wyoming Area 0
Lydia Lawson and Emily Schramm found each other on four of the nine Royal goals Monday in Wilkes-Barre.
Lawson finished with five goals and an assist. Schramm posted two goals and three assists. Holy Redeemer outshot Wyoming Area 28-7, with Butchko making nine saves in the losing effort.