HOUGHTON, Mich. — Mariel Leibovitz and Courtney Kurkie each signed a National Letter of Intent during November’s early signing period, officially committing to continue their academic and athletic careers at Michigan Tech starting in the fall of 2015.
Both decided on Tech after being courted by several DI and strong DII programs. The two join a Huskies team coming off a season that saw an overall improvement in both record and quality of play, All-GLIAC award winners, new statistical records and one of youngest lineups in the GLIAC with at least seven or more underclassmen getting significant time on the court.
“In terms of the game, these two add a great deal of skill and talent to our team,” said Tech coach Matt Jennings. “Each has had excellent training with their club programs and each were leaders on their high school teams. They also add a great deal to the overall character of the program. They both are strong and serious students who, in part, chose Tech because they wanted to be challenged academically. In terms of being a good fit, we hit a homerun with these two. During the recruiting process, it became clear that these two families are the kind of people we want as part of our family up here. We’re excited to have both of them as Huskies, and I’m confident Mariel and Courtney will thrive as student-athletes here at Tech.”
Mariel Leibovitz is a 5-11 setter from New Lenox, Ill., a southern suburb of Chicago, who intends to study biomedical engineering. An honor roll student and all-conference player at Lincoln Way Central High School, she spent four years participating in elite level training as a member of Sports Performance Volleyball Club (SPRI), and will finish her club career setting for Club Uno’s top U18 team. SPRI is considered the top overall club in the country in terms of training, particularly regarding the setting position. She was the 2014 recipient of SPRI’s C-Fed award, an award that goes to the hardest working player in their age group. Leibovitz was team captain of her 2014 high school team and currently ranks second all time in career assists and first in single season assists.
“Mariel is a fabulous setter. She has excellent hands, good size, and fantastic decision making skills,” said Jennings. “I was most impressed with the manner in which she ran her team’s offense and commanded the court. She seems like an excellent leader, which is huge in the setter position. She’s comes from a great family, and has a wonderful personality that will fit in very well with our crew here at Tech. She is going to have an excellent career as a Husky as long as she remains as dedicated as she’s been so far.”
Courtney Kurkie is a 5-10 right side hitter from Plymouth, Mich. A left-handed attacker who touches 9-10, Kurkie brings loads of athleticism and craft to her position and the team as a whole. A three-year member of the Canton (Mich.) High School team, Kurkie is an honor roll student who plans on pursuing exercise science at Tech. She was her team’s leader in blocks and overall points her senior year. She spent the majority of her club career at Premier Academy out of Toledo, Ohio, and will finish with Instant Replay, a down-state club that competes in a very competitive region of prep volleyball.
“We are very lucky to have found Courtney when we did,” Jennings said. “She impressed me from day one of seeing her compete. She is incredibly athletic and being lefty, finds multiple ways to score. Upon seeing her play again later in the club season (last year), it was clear she became one of her team’s go-to players on the attack. She brings a great personality and academic standard with her to Tech, which is something we’re all very excited for. She and her family made a great impression on us during their visit. We know we’re getting a quality person and a quality player in Courtney.”
The two recruits join the 15 players already on the roster. Tech posted a 11-16 overall record and 8-10 mark in GLIAC play in 2014.
(Information/Photo Courtesy of MTU Athletics)