What a difference a few weeks can make for a lacrosse recruit.
Just ask Gerard Arceri.
After spending his freshman season on the varsity team at Smithtown East (N.Y.) No. 3 on the depth chart in the faceoff X, the rising sophomore has enjoyed a breakout summer.
It’s included strong showing at the Maverik Showtime National Lacrosse Recruiting Spotlight, Battle of the Hotbeds and Champ Camp, where he made the all-star game in each event.
With such success have come major Division I opportunities aplenty.
Last night, Arceri made his decision, verbally committing to Penn State, a development first reported at Twitter.com/Joe_Lombardi. Arceri’s verbal marks the first Class of 2016 commit for the Nittany Lions.
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Arceri is a speedy midfielder with outstanding faceoff technique who is effective at starting fast breaks after winning draws. His father, Gerard Sr., was a faceoff standout himself (at East rival Ward Melville High School.)
What were the main factors in your decision?
I wanted a top 10 lacrosse school that had a chance at an NCAA championship. I also wanted a school not to far from my home on Long Island so my family could come to games. I wanted school that had many great programs to offer since I’m not sure what I want to major in yet.
Penn State ranks higher academically than some of my other top choices, and will be very affordable for me. Coming out of college without a lot of debt is very important.
The facilities are what really impressed me. The campus is beautiful, and well maintained. It seems like there are endless opportunities at Penn State.
I also love watching other sports, especially wresting and football. Penn State has so many great sports programs I will always have something to do. I also really liked (Penn State Head) Coach Jeff (Tambroni). feel like I will be able to work really well under his direction.
What other schools were you considering and what schools did you visit?
I visited Georgetown, Syracuse, Maryland and Hofstra. There were a few of others I was considering a visit to such as UNC, Princeton and Cornell. I had several offers on the table , but felt like Penn State had the most to offer, so the decision was easy.
What are your strengths as a player and how would you describe your style of play?
My strengths include hand speed, timing the whistle, stick-handling. I can consistently push a fastbreak following a faceoff win.
What area of your game do you need to work on?
I need to work on my on my overall strength, which I should be able to accomplish though weight training
How did you get introduced to lacrosse and what other sports have you played?
I started playing lacrosse in third grade, didn’t take a face off till seventh grade when I began playing on my middle school team. My father (also named Gerard) was a faceoff specialist for Ward Melville back in the ’80s and he encouraged me to pursue that position. I also have played soccer since kindergarten and still currently play for Smithtown East.
What travel team do you play on what showcase events did you participate in?
I play for both Smithtown East Varsity and Team Long Island U17. Last summer I was a finalist on the Brine National team for Long Island North. This summer, I was selected for Suffolk County Elite Top 20 freshman team, the Maverik Showtime all-star game, My team LI was Philly Invitational champions and I was selected for the all-star game as well as the all-star games at Champ Camp and Hotbeds.
Any final thoughts?
I would like to thank my parents for always believing in me and encouraging me to always do my best.
I would also like to thank some of the great coaches I have had along the way such as Shane Kielmeyer, my youth coach. He always made lacrosse such a fun sport to be a part of.
Coach (Jason) Lambert from Smithtown East. who was always there to offer great advice and encouragement. Mike Gongas, my Team LI coach. Helieved in me when I was just staring to excel at faceoffs. He brought me up to his U-17 team where I had the opportunity to shine and get noticed.
Matt Schomberg, my faceoff coach. He gave me an awesome set of skills that got me where I am today (with a ton of practice on my part).
And last, my 11-year-old brother, Christopher. I thank him for practicing with me every night, sometimes to the point of tears.
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