University of Saskatchewan Huskies rookie outside hitter Isaiah Mamer only has 26 games of U Sports experience under his belt with the school’s men’s volleyball team.
In those 26 games, however, he’s created more key moments and memories than many athletes over their entire careers.
“That’s got to be some of the best luck I’ve had in my life,” said Mamer at Huskies practice preparing for the upcoming U Sports Men’s Volleyball Championships.
Taking part in his first playoff run with the Huskies, Mamer stepped up with the bronze-medal winning kill on Friday night to secure the program’s first berth at the national tournament in seven years.
It was a career highlight for the young recruit out of McLurg High School in Wilkie, eclipsing another clutch moment that occurred just weeks earlier.
In the fifth set of a winner-take-all Game 3 between the Huskies and UBC Thunderbirds in Canada West quarter-finals, Mamer went up for the series winning block against Thunderbirds all-star hitter Matt Neaves to send the PAC Gymnasium into hysterics.
“I know it’s going to help me later on,” said Mamer. “But, just to be able to experience that stuff and know that players trust me in those big moments here is something that I can’t ask any more of them for.”
It’s not just at the U Sports level that Mamer has showcased this clutch gene, as he also delivered the gold medal winning kill for Team Saskatchewan at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara, Ontario.
With veteran outside hitters like Dylan Mortensen and Levi Olson set to depart the Huskies after U Sports nationals, the torch will soon be passed to Mamer as one of the burgeoning faces of the program.
For Olson, it’s been eye-opening to see Mamer’s talent level playing alongside the rookie this season.
“Isaiah is probably one of the best rookies I’ve ever played with,” said Olson. “Just his talent, his skill and his ability to perform under pressure is just something I haven’t seen out of a guy this young in a long time.”
While there’s plenty of talk about his future with the Huskies, Mamer is expected to be a key contributor this week for the ‘Dogs’ in Hamilton, Ontario as they chase after a Canadian university title.
“He’s come up clutch for us many times before and I don’t have any doubt that he’s going to be able to do that at nationals as well,” said Olson.
Mamer’s first trip to U Sports nationals will be as much of a learning experience as a chance to improve his play on the left side, as he and the rest of the Huskies first-years are wanting to make this tournament a yearly tradition coming out of Canada West.
“The younger guys are going to take this experience and try to build off of it,” said Mamer. “Try to get another national representation here in future years. This will just be something that we can always look back to and be like, ‘We did this, we know we can do this again.'”
The Huskies kick off their tournament at 4:00 pm Saskatchewan time on Friday against the host McMaster University Marauders with the winner advancing to national semi-finals.