Any uncertainty about whether or not he'd be getting collegiate attention on Sept. 1, the first day that schools could contact players from the class of 2020, went away pretty quickly for Andrew Arcuri.
The Empire 2020 and Westhampton Beach goalie figured out pretty quickly where he stood in the pecking order for at least one school. At 12:01 a.m., Arcuri got an email in his inbox from new Siena coach Liam Gleason, who just inherited the job after seven years as an associate head coach at national powerhouse Albany.
"Coach Gleason reached out to me right away and said that he wanted to talk, but to get some sleep and get in touch with him the next day," Arcuri said. "It doesn't really kick in until the next day, and you don't really know how much they want you until you get that email at 12:01. I had a few emails from some other schools, but the Siena one was made toward me and they wanted to talk to me personally."
It's hard to get recruited at any position, but goalies have it the toughest. Most schools are only taking one goalie per class, if any, and the available pool dries up pretty quickly once schools start snapping up their goalies of the future. In many respects, it's like quarterback recruiting in football, so when a school is paying that much attention to you, it's a head-turner. For Arcuri, it set the tone for his Siena recruitment, and that vibe carried over to when he visited the school.
"It was definitely a big factor for me that they really showed me that they wanted me," Arcuri said. "They even mentioned it when I went for the visit, and it was nice to know that I was a No. 1 for a school. It puts pressure on you since there's usually only one guy per class and some teams aren't even taking a goalie, so you need to get attention from as many schools as possible. I was very interested, but I could also compare other schools to it and see if it was what I wanted."
When it came down to it, there wasn't much debate. Arcuri recently opted to commit to the Saints. He joins fellow goalie Liam Daly (Shoreham-Wading River/Stony Brook) among the ranks of the committed Empire 2020s. When he took the visit to check out campus, Arcuri noticed that the school checked off a lot of boxes for him, and after considering it, there was nothing holding him back from becoming a Saint.
"I liked that it had smaller classes and classes are angled more toward you as an individual," explained Arcuri, who is interested in studying psychology. "You're one of 20 in a class, not one in 300, and you get more attention from the professor that way. I also loved the school spirit. Everyone was wearing Siena stuff, and it's cool to see that. It's also exciting to come in with Coach Gleason as a new coach. We're both learning at the same time. I can learn off of him, and he can learn off of me and the other guys on the team. It's going to take some work, but in the end, I feel that he's a great coach and can turn it around from where Siena was last year."
Arcuri's game has taken off significantly since becoming a part of the Empire program. It doesn't hurt to have Daly as the other half of the goaltending tandem. The two compete and are good enough to push each other, which has helped them both develop. Arcuri also feels much more comfortable understanding offensive sets and seeing the game as a result of working closely with Empire coaches Harold Drumm and Luke Daquino. Now, he's a vocal leader who's in control of the defense, and he thrives on in-tight shots and in the clearing game.
"Knowing that Liam is a Division I goalie, too, makes for good competition," Arcuri said. "We always want to outdo each other and it's always good to have two guys trying their hardest to play great for the team. I've also really developed my communication skills. Coaches Drumm and Luke taught me how to become a better leader and how to read offensive sets, and I feel like I've evolved a lot as a player since I've been here."
"Andrew's mental dissection of the game allows him to lead his defense, and it also instills a sense of confidence in his teammates," Daquino said. "We're thrilled to see him end up as a Division I goalie, and Siena has everything that he was looking for, so it's a perfect fit for him."
Arcuri probably knew that at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 1.