For the next five weeks leading up to the 2018 season we will honor one of our five seniors that have given so much to our program during their time at Georgia State. This week we will focus on Anna Rantala.
Anna Rantala came to Georgia State after a club career with Jyvaslentis in Jyvaskyla, Finland. Rantala captained Finland’s Junior National Team from 2011-2013, and led the team to a bronze medal at the Finnish U20 Nationals.
Rantala made an immediate impact for the Panthers, seeing action in 23 matches her freshman season. The Finnish national recorded six kills and hit .312 in her first match as a Panther on August 28, 2015. She would end her freshman season with 50 digs, 54 kills, and 24 block assists.
As a sophomore, Rantala shined, starting 21 matches and seeing action in all 28 of GSU’s contests. She would record her first career double digit kill effort with 11 winners against James Madison on August 26, 2016. Anna would later record her first ever double-double with 12 kills and 17 digs on October 21, 2016. Rantala produced a career high 21 digs in just three sets of action in a 3-0 win over William & Mary. The 2016 season would see Rantala notch 241 digs, 125 kills, 24 block assists, and a team high 36 service aces.
Rantala was once again a mainstay in the Georgia State lineup in 2017, playing in 27 of the team’s 29 matches. Anna put up double digit digs five times over the course of the season, including ten in back to back home wins over Davidson and UL Monroe. She would earn a season high 11 digs helping the Panthers to an October 6th win over Appalachian State. Rantala continued to dominate at the service line, racking up 22 aces.
Overall, Anna has appeared in more matches (78) than any other current Georgia State player. Rantala has accumulated 60 aces over her three seasons, second among active Panthers. The Finn is also second among active players with 427 digs, trailing only Crystal Lee in both categories.
“She is a crafty player that can do it all”, said Sally Polhamus who would go on to note that Rantala’s versatility and consistency make her a valuable player. “She has the ability to score from the service line, the front row, and can control our court with her defense and passing.”
Rantala has not only been one of the most reliable players of the team for the past three seasons, but has also put in outstanding work in the classroom. She has been named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in each of her three years, and was named to the Spring 2018 Dean’s List.
For Anna, her transition to the United States was aided by support from her teammates and coaches. “Coming from a different country the team and the staff made my transition so smooth that I often forget that I am in a different country. I have made lifelong friends and relationships and also learned to be grateful for what you have.”
When asked about expectations for this upcoming season Rantala was confident the Panthers would make some lasting memories. “I know we will have an incredible season, we all believe and we are working harder than ever before. I am excited because I know what we can achieve.”
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