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FARMINGTON — Bailey Rasmussen understands that her role on Piedra Vista’s front line of attack keeps growing, aware that the offense will again be shorthanded.

The Lady Panthers middle hitter had her breakout season last year with 254 kills, filling in for outside hitter and 2019 PV grad Courtney Moore. Moore spent 2017 and 2018 recovering from slightly torn patellas in both knees and is now playing volleyball at NCAA Division II Colorado Mesa University. And now junior outside hitter Kacee Moore, Courtney's younger sister, is out indefinitely with two injured kneecaps.

Rasmussen knows that it’s her time to lead the charge.

“Now it’s just giving me a bigger opportunity to step up and be a leader for my team,” said Rasmussen, now a junior. “I was just really hoping Kacee could be there with me. Now that she’s not, I just have to step up even more and help the younger girls.”

Rasmussen battled inflammation in her right rotator cuff, which affected her swinging motion, but she still did damage targeting the inner gaps.

“Her power is amazing. She’s the strongest girl I think I’ve ever seen. I cannot believe how hard she can hit the ball,” coach Ron Becker said. “Can you imagine if she’s 100 percent with her shoulder? I’m pretty excited to see what she can do with that.”

Now that her shoulder is fully healthy, she expects to be even more deadly up front with more looks as an outside hitter this fall. 

Rasmussen said she will be able to change directions more often. On crossing spikes, she won't have to turn her body inward to compensate. 

“The timing’s a lot of different (hitting outside), but just being able to hit high and snap, it’s kind of all the same thing,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said she expects to be even more aggressive up front as her kill attempts go up. And with more touches on the outside, Rasmussen said she will be free more often to help attack on the fly.

“I think she’ll step up to the challenge. This is an opportunity for her to shine and really set herself apart, be a real leader on the team. I think she’s totally ready for it,” Becker said. “She’s gotten a lot stronger. She’s now taking a lot more swings. She’ll have confidence back in her shoulder. She’s hit some balls this (summer) that have been just extremely impressive.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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