Named an AVCA Thirty Under 30 Coach in 2020, Leigh Barea was hired as the 13th head coach of the Parkside Volleyball program in January of 2018. Barea will enter her third season as head coach of the Rangers in 2020.
In year two with the Rangers, Barea saw her team improve by three wins in 2019 and clinch a spot in the GLIAC Tournament for the second straight season. The last time Parkside cliched a spot in its conference tournament in back-to-back years was 2011 and 2012.
Finishing 11-19 overall and 6-11 in the GLIAC, the team went 3-0 at the conference crossover tournament and ended the season 3-1 in the final four matches. During the season, Barea saw senior Ann Leo break Parkside’s all-time digs record and be named the GLIAC Libero of the Year.
In Barea’s first season at the helm, she saw the Rangers finish 8-21 overall and 5-11 in the GLIAC, qualifying the GLIAC Tournament in the program’s first year as a member of the conference. Her young team stayed tough at home, finishing 5-6 and earning some key wins over Wayne State and Grand Valley State. Barea saw three players honored at the end of the season, as Lexie Calloway and Ann Leo were named Second Team All-GLIAC and Katie Adams was All-GLIAC Honorable Mention and won the Parkside Student-Athlete of the Year award for the second straight season.
Barea, a Battle Creek, Mich., native, served as an assistant coach at Jacksonville State from July 2015 to January 2018 where she was the Gamecocks’ recruiting coordinator and was the lead contact for the academics of the program. While at JSU, Barea helped the program back to a winning tradition, as the Gamecocks made back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference Tournaments in 2016-17 and saw the team go 23-13 last season. She coached a pair of 1,000-kill club members in Allyson Zuhlke and Charis Ludkte.
Barea was a standout at Lewis University during her playing career from 2011 to 2014. She was a 4-year starting setter and three-year team captain for the Flyers. She was a three-time All-Conference honoree, two-time Academic All-Conference selection and helped Lewis to four straight NCAA appearances and three-straight regular season championships. She ranks first all-time at Lewis in assists and seventh in digs.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Pre-Physical Therapy from Lewis in May of 2015 and went on to earn her Master of Science in Sport Management from Jacksonville State in December of 2017 with a perfect 4.0 GPA.