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March 14, 2013

Cards' Senese showing size isn't everything

PLATTSBURGH — Giovanna Senese isn’t the biggest in stature.

Standing at 4-foot-11, she’s the smallest player listed on the Plattsburgh State women’s hockey roster.

Size, however, didn’t stop Senese from helping her Chicago Mission Tier 1 AAA hockey team capture a silver medal in last year’s USA Hockey Tier 1 National Championships in Irving, Texas.

After doing so, the Huntley, Ill., quickly became interested in Plattsburgh and enrolled as a double major in mathematics and physics.

Fast forward.

This week, she guides a Cardinals team to the Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championships in Superior, Wis.

Plattsburgh is 26-0-2 and makes its seventh final four appearance in program history, while trying for its third national championship.

“I try and play bigger than my size,” Senese said. “That’s what I’ve always been told. ‘Have fun and just go out there and play my game … do what I need to and use my teammates to help me play bigger.”

Senese headlines an electrifying third line, which also features Ali Vakos and Chelsea VanGlahn.

The three forwards combined for 46 points this season and have received praise from coach Kevin Houle throughout the course of the year.

“That line has given us a spark as of late,” Houle said. “They give us high-energy shifts and are comfortable playing with one another.”

Senese has also logged a significant amount of time on the penalty kill this season — a role that she’s comfortable with.

The Cardinals rank fourth in Division III women’s college hockey in penalty-kill percentage at 90.1 percent, surrendering just nine goals on 91 shorthanded tries.

“Yeah, I’ve played that a lot for a while now,” Senese said. “It’s always good and whoever I play with doesn’t matter. Everything I contribute is helpful to the team. That’s all I need.”

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