Skyview senior Amanda Bauer doesn't get close calls at most of the Panthers' home volleyball games, but she's not about to complain to those calling the lines.
That's because it's Bauer's parents, Robert and Penny Bauer of Kasilof, who are usually flagging Skyview's home games.
"They have a rule," Amanda said when asked if she receives favoritism. "If I hit one that's close and they're not sure, it's automatically out."
Robert said there is no actual rule that he and his wife go by, but admitted that he has a hard time calling the close ones in his daughter's favor.
"It's just that we're very wary of making sure that none of the calls could be looked at as favoritism," Robert said. "We have to make sure nobody thinks we're giving her any calls."
Except for a few questionable calls here and there, though, Bauer's parents are a major reason why Amanda has developed into one of Region III's most feared hitters.
On the court
Has been on the varsity of the basketball and volleyball teams since she was a sophomore.
Set Skyviews record for kills in a match this year by putting down 27 against Colony.
Has had 246 kills this year while making just 114 hitting errors.
Off the court
Carries a 3.6 grade point average in the classroom.
Is the treasurer for the National Honors Society and sings in the swing choir.
Also enjoys hiking, biking and canoeing.
"There can be negative families in sports, but the Bauers are a positive, supportive volleyball family," Skyview volleyball coach Sheila Kupferschmid said. "They have supported Amanda and they have supported the program.
"Whether's it's helping with the volleyball dance or calling lines, they have served the program the last four years."
The support the parents have shown is no surprise because the Bauers are a volleyball family. Robert and Penny met for the first time playing recreational volleyball in Anchorage about 20 years ago.
"When Amanda showed an interest in it, it worked out for us," Robert said.
Before the age of 10, Bauer was already showing the intense focus and determination that have become her trademark as an athlete.
The Bauers were up in Anchorage watching Amanda's older brother Lucas, now 20, play in an all-star baseball tournament. Amanda immediately gravitated toward the backstop of the softball field, where she saw the girls all-stars playing.
"Can I do that?" she asked her father.
The next year she was back at the tournament, only this time she was on the field and not behind the backstop.
"She's always been real headstrong, a real go-getter," Robert said. "When she wants to do something, she focuses on it and does it."
By her sophomore year in high school, Bauer's determined attitude had her on the varsity volleyball and basketball teams. Panthers sophomore setter Christina Colvin, who has known Bauer since childhood, said that even when Bauer was a sophomore, she was mature beyond her years.
"She always had a senior personality," Colvin said. "I always looked up to her the way people always look up to seniors."
Bauer also had quite a competitive streak by the time she was a sophomore. Skyview senior middle hitter Beth Massey, who started playing volleyball with Bauer in eighth grade, said Bauer competes so hard it often gives others the wrong idea about her demeanor.
"She's a lot nicer than people think she is," Massey said. "She comes off as hard because she's competitive, but she's a lot nicer than most people think."
Robert Bauer said the trait he admires about his daughter the most is how she confronts a problem by herself and takes care of it. This trait pays off in school, where Bauer has a 3.6 grade point average, and on the court, where Bauer goes to off-season camps and does summer training.
The tradeoff of this independence is that Bauer isn't concerned about everybody liking her.
"She's kind of a loner because she's very self-reliant," Robert said. "It's not important for her to be everybody's friend, but she is nice to everybody.
"In general, if somebody is not outgoing people will be put off by that person and think they are not nice."
Of course, self-reliance can only take a player so far in team sports like volleyball and basketball. A key part of the maturation of Bauer as a player has been realizing how important it is that a team gets along.
Bauer said when she was a sophomore, the Panthers volleyball team had talent but grudges got in the way of them succeeding. As the team's quiet leader this year, she has made sure that won't happen again.
"I know what it feels like not to be accepted on a team," Bauer said. "I don't think anybody on the team doesn't feel accepted this year.
"If everybody doesn't get along, we won't play with any synergy. That's the big word on the team this year."
Bauer has spearheaded a Panthers attack that allowed the team to finish second in Region III/4A's Southern Division this year. Skyview will be right in the thick of teams hoping to advance to state at this weekend's region tournament at Kenai Central.
The outside hitter has 246 kills for Skyview this year in 564 attempts. She has made 114 hitting errors. Against Colony this year, she had 27 kills to establish a new school record. Bauer also has 46 aces this year and 16 solo blocks.
Kupferschmid has been coaching high school athletics for 15 years, spending time in Texas and Nebraska before coming to Alaska. She said in that time she has only had two athletes that can match Bauer's work ethic and athletic ability.
Both of the other athletes went on to successful college careers in athletics, and one even won an NCAA Division I basketball title.
"Because of Amanda, our team benefits and all the court sports benefit because they see how an athlete looks and acts," Kupferschmid said. "Amanda could turn things around for court sports at Skyview because she gives other athletes that vision."
For now, though Bauer will focus on helping the Panthers to a trip at the state tournament.
She'll have to be extra sharp, though. Her father said there was a possibility he'd being doing lines at the region tournament.
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