Her story is almost impossible to fathom. From where she was to being this week’s Pac-12 player of the week is truly heartwarming, inspirational, and, frankly, mind boggling.
Savannah Rennie, a 6-foot-2 product of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, was a big-time recruit for Cal, just the player the program needed to turn things around. Super competitive, extremely athletic, USA junior national team experience, the 2014 San Diego section player of the year.
And then the bottom fell out.
And fell out again.
Rennie graduated early from high school and went to Cal in the spring and things were going great. But that summer, on June 4 to be precise, she got sick. Really sick. In a nutshell —and you can read our story with her from June 2016 and updated that October — she had Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis with Portal Hypertension that ultimately led to her getting a liver transplant.
She made it back for her sophomore season, appeared in 12 matches, including five starts, and had 39 kills and 10 blocks. But she was an athletic shell of her former self. But instead of continuing on the road back, Rennie was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Post-Transplant Lymphoma, which cost her the 2017 season.
Rennie was back in uniform last season and played in 27 sets and had 27 kills, 14 blocks and 10 digs. That was a beginning, one that continued through the spring and into the summer. Everyone was rooting for Rennie, but no one could have imagined what she did last weekend to start the season:
— In a sweep of Oklahoma at Colorado State, Rennie had nine kills in 16 swings to hit .375, had four digs and four blocks, one solo.
— Then in a 3-1 win over Colorado State, Rennie had six more kills in 10 swings and hit .600 to go with an assist, two digs and five blocks.
— Finally, in a sweep of Chicago State, she had 12 kills in 16 swings, hit .625, and had an assist and five digs.
She was named both the MVP of the tournament and then the Pac-12 POW. And that’s where we began when we talked on Tuesday afternoon: