Midfielder Kristin Marietta is looking to rebound from a quiet season a year ago, Katie Schwartz is back to anchor the defense, Shelby Cosby is expected to get substantial playing time up top alongside Vining and Mahan, and Katie Scott and Lauren Ruffini are returning in the midfield.
"They like (2009) the best," Kennesaw State coach Rob King said.
Junior defenders Lexi Hastings and sophomore Taisa Williams add experience in the backfield.
The other five seniors on the roster are projected starters who can also lead.
There are also plenty of newcomers expecting to see time as well this season, and a few are transfers from Southeastern Conference programs.
Vining posted double digits in total points in each of her first three seasons, finishing 2010 with four goals and three assists. Mahan, a forward who walked on to the team in 2008, flourished last season with seven assists and four goals.
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Kennesaw State was picked to finish fourth in the A Sun's preseason coaches' poll, and Vining joined former Harrison High School standout Alyssa Mahan as all conference selections.
tonight at Alabama, the seniors will be out to prove that 2010 was a fluke and that '09 is the norm of what to expect. The Owls appear to have the right mix to make that happen with the seven experienced seniors and 11 freshman newcomers, mixed with a blend of experience in between.
Freshmen Julia Nelson, a recent Hillgrove graduate, and Iyani Hughes will serve as backup forwards. Sophomore Kelsey Barr, who helped lead South Carolina to the SEC championship game as a freshman last season, is expected to be vital in the midfield with redshirt freshman Jewelia Strickland, who spent last year at Alabama.
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"The fact that our class has already seen the good and the bad, you know what it feels like when you win and you know what it feels like when you lose," senior forward Brittany Vining said. "We definitely have the potential to win conference, but since we have so many new players, we have to get on the same page."
"One of our biggest strengths is across the board," King said. "From out most experienced players to our least experienced players, there is not a lot of range in between. It makes choosing starters a difficult thing. And having a lot of players who have been there and done that it is key."
Winning the Atlantic Sun Conference for the second time in three years made the '09 campaign special, but it was succeeded by a season that didn't meet standards. After leaving the heart of campus to play in the brand new KSU Soccer Stadium, the Owls sputtered to an 8 8 3 record and were Nike Air Force 1 Silver eliminated in the semifinals of the A Sun tournament.
Other newcomers include Nicole Calder, a true freshman from Australia, and Emily Cox, a redshirt freshman who was at Alabama last year and will share time in goal with junior Melissa Hutto.
King even tapped into the same Icelandic town that gave him Gardarsdottir to find freshman midfielder Anna Gudmundsdottir, who, like Gardarsdottir, is a veteran of Iceland's under Nike Air Force 4 Low
"Their senior year, we need a high level of play from them without getting injuries," King said. "What we need is an injury free season from them both. They should be leaders of our offense this year."
KENNESAW The seven seniors on Kennesaw State's women's soccer team experienced a season worth remembering in 2009 and one worth forgetting in 2010.
Sophomore midfielder Alma Gardarsdottir, an A Sun all freshman honoree last season, was Kennesaw State's breakout star as a freshman, leading the team with six goals. She also had three assists to tie Mahan with 15 points.
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