In the five weeks leading up to the 2018 season we will honor and focus on one of our five seniors that have given so much to our program during their time at Georgia State. This week’s spotlight is on setter, Sarah Renner.
Sarah Renner came to Atlanta after an outstanding high school career at Linn-Mar in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Renner earned All-Conference and Academic All-Conference honors her senior year, and helped Club Iowa Juniors to the 2014 Junior National Championship. She was selected to the 2014 GJNC USA Division All-Tournament Team and was an AP Scholar award winner in her final three years.
As a true freshman, Renner played in 22 matches and started the final nine contests of the 2015 season. In her nine starts, Renner dished out at least 30 assists eight times. Sarah recorded her first career double-double with 36 assists and 15 digs on October 31, 2015 in a four set win over Louisiana. She posted a season high 50 assists and added 11 digs in a November 7 match against rival Georgia Southern. Renner finished her freshman season with 378 assists, 6.63 assists per set, and 83 digs. She was awarded the Sun Belt Freshman of the Week award on November 16, following the Panther’s final regular season match.
Renner had a breakout sophomore season as Georgia State’s featured setter. The Cedar Rapids native started all 28 matches, and played in all but one set in 2016. Sarah delivered 30 or more assists on 17 occasions over the course of the season. She would also set a career high mark of 53 assists in an October 22 win over UT Arlington. Renner finished the year with seven double doubles and 898 assists. Her 191 digs ranked third on the team, and she added 20 blocks and 15 service aces.
The 2017 season saw Renner continue to be a staple in the GSU lineup. She played in 27 of the team’s 29 matches and saw action in 90 of 117 sets while splitting time with Carley Eiken and Paige Etherington. Sarah was the starter for eight of GSU’s ten wins during the 2017 season. She posted a season high 52 assists and added 12 digs in a September 22 home win over UL Monroe. The setter would post a career high 20 digs in a victory over Appalachian State on October 6. Renner would end the season with a team high 549 assists and finish fourth on the squad with 150 digs. On five occasions Renner posted 40 or more assists, she would hit the 20-plus mark 13 times, including a pair of 23 assist efforts in wins over Georgia Southern.
Sarah Renner has carved her name into the Georgia State volleyball record books in her three seasons as a Panther. She will enter the season ranked ninth in all time assists with 1,825. Her 7.36 assists per set are good for tenth in Georgia State history. Sarah’s 77 matches played trails only Anna Rantala’s 78 for the most by any current Panther. Her 426 digs trail only Rantala and Lee, good for third most among all current GSU players.
“Sarah has been the anchor of our offense since her freshman season”, said coach Sally Polhamus. “Her impact can be seen by her consistent work ethic on the court, relationships with her teammates and her drive to be the best that she can be.”
As wonderful of a career as Renner has posted on the court, she has had just as much success representing the Panthers off the floor. Sarah was named to the Dean’s List for the 2016 and 2017 spring semesters, and again for the 2017 fall semester. She was also named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in the spring of 2018.
“She is a leader in the truest sense on and off the court”, continued Polhamus. “Being SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Council) president and being the catalyst for many of our community service projects, she sets a great example for the younger players.”
“I’d say that my time at GSU has helped me grow as a person; mentally, physically, and emotionally” said Renner. “I have met my best friends and biggest mentors through volleyball, and have had many great leadership opportunities through SAAC.”
Renner sites the times off the court with her teammates as some of her best memories from her time as a Panther. As for her goals for her senior season, they are simple, “I am focused on being the best setter and best person that I can be, and hopefully helping us to a Sun Belt Championship.”