Plattsburgh State’s freshmen duo of Kayla Meneghin and Melissa Sheeran lead the team with 38 and 26 points, respectively. Meneghin ranks first (1.81) and Sheeran second (1.30) in the ECAC West among rookies for points per game.
Years of hard work brought the two to their current roles on PSUC’s women’s hockey team.
“I’ve known since I was 8 that I wanted to play college hockey,” Meneghin said. “I found organizations that were better and wanted to keep pushing myself.”
Sheeran pushed herself in the usual ways: offseason training and boarding school. Even her family helped out.
“I played hockey with my brother throughout my whole life,” Sheeran said. “Once he stopped, it was kind of weird.”
While Sheeran and Meneghin are close line mates and roommates now, that wasn’t always the case.
“We were actually on rival teams growing up,” Sheeran said. “We did not like each other.”
Meneghin recognizes the silver lining hidden in the former rivalry, despite any awkwardness at the beginning of the season.
“Being one of the best players on each team has got us where we are today,” Meneghin said, “and now it helps us push each other to do better.”
Sheeran and Meneghin bettered themselves through individual efforts in preparation for the collegiate level, but that’s only part of the formula for success.
Junior center Giovanna Senese said the team creates an environment in which the rookies thrive.
“We’re very supportive on and off the ice,” Sheeran said. “There’s a lot that goes on the ice to make that happen that people don’t really see.”
Meneghin said that Sheeran and Senese consistenly get her the puck when she is open.
Securing prolific goal scorers is a feat in itself. With Sheeran and Meneghin garnering the attention of top Division III schools, head coach Kevin Houle is pleased the duo chose to come to PSUC.
“It really came down to the wire,” Houle said. “We felt really good about getting both players.”
The Cardinals lost nine players to graduation Houle looks to returners and freshmen like Sheeran and Meneghin to fill the offensive void left behind.
“We needed players to step up and produce this year,” Houle said, “whether they’re freshmen, sophomores or juniors. It’s nice to have freshmen like that that can produce.”
The defensive play of Senese sets an example for the freshmen and allows her line mates to put up big numbers.
Houle relies on other veteran players like Senese to show newcomers how to play as well.
“Hopefully they can continue to learn from the upperclassmen,” Houle said.
Looking to the rest of the season, Sheeran hopes to avenge the two losses to Elmira as the Cards enter the playoffs. Elmira ended PSUC’s 40-game home win streak.
“We have something to prove now,” Sheeran said. “We lost that streak, but we get to start a new one.”
Meneghin’s focus also lies in the playoffs, but she isn’t getting ahead of herself yet.
“We’re going to take each game one by one,” Meneghin said, “and hopefully we’ll win every one. We’re looking to win the championship.”
Email Jess Huber at email@example.com.