KENNESAW, Ga. -- Kennesaw State soccer Head Coach Rob King announced the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, as well as the addition of a pair of transfers, in the 2013 signing period on Thursday.
The 2013 class includes forwards Shannon Driscoll (Woodstock, Ga./River Ridge HS) and Maggie Gaughan (Marietta, Ga./Hillgrove HS), midfielders Suzanne Arafa (Acworth, Ga./Allatoona HS) and Monica Herrera (Acworth, Ga./Harrison HS), flank midfielder/forward Cassidy Kemp (LaGrange, Ga./LaGrange HS) and goalkeeper Olivia Sturdivant(Sanford, N.C./Lee County HS).
Along with the six signees, KSU adds a pair of Southeastern Conference transfers, defenders Elizabeth Johnson (Marietta, Ga./Georgia) and Brittany Reed (Kennesaw, Ga./Florida), who are set to join the Owls in the 2013 spring semester.
"We are very pleased with this class," said King. "This is a class that we have put together for a couple of years and I am thrilled with the group. It is a collection of very good athletes, but then also blended with some very technical players with a high soccer IQ. I am delighted with this group. It is very exciting."
The six incoming freshmen will join the Owls starting in the fall of 2013.
"I am thrilled with the group," added King. "I think it is a very strong group. We expect this new group, along with those that are in the program now that working hard and tweaking things here to have an awful lot of success in the years going forward."
A three-year varsity letterwinner at River Ridge High School, Driscoll has tallied 64 goals while leading her team to the state championship each of her first three years of high school, including a regional championship in 2011. The Woodstock, Ga., is a two-time RRHS Most Offensive Player of the Year and Captain's Award winner and earned Cherokee County All-County Team accolades following her sophomore and junior seasons. A Bobbie Bailey Award for Athletic Excellence honoree, Driscoll played club soccer with the Southern Soccer Academy and Cobb FC.
Gaughan received the Most Offensive Player award following her first three seasons at Hillgrove High School. She has scored 58 goals and totaled 23 assists through her junior year, leading her team to the Elite Eight during her sophomore campaign. The Marietta, Ga., native owns 13 game-winning goals and five game-winning assists in her high school career. A member of the Southern Soccer Academy and Cobb FC premier teams, she was a part of the 2012 State Cup Championship squad.
Coach King on Driscoll and Gaughan:
"These two are both athletic forwards. They are big, strong and fast. They can play with their back to goal and hold the ball up, but they are also a threat in behind and they can finish as well. They are very versatile and can play as central forwards in that position, but can also play wide because they have the pace to take players on. They are both very hardworking and I expect a lot from both of them immediately."
Herrera, a four-year varsity member and two-time team captain, helped lead Harrison High School to the 2011 5A State Championship and the Birmingham Lakeshore Shootout Championship during her sophomore season, while also earning all-tournament team honors for the Birmingham Lakeshore Shootout. With Herrera's help, Harrison has also notched back-to-back region championships in 2011 and 2012. The Acworth, Ga., native has played club soccer for NASA and has won numerous tournament championships, including the 2011 and 2012 Atlanta Cup and the 2009 State Cup.
A gifted midfielder from nearby Acworth, Ga., Arafa led Allatoona High School to its first state playoff appearance as a freshman, while also being named All-County Second-Team. She followed that up with Most Valuable Player honors while leading Allatooona to the final four of the state championship during her sophomore campaign, and winning the school's first soccer state championship as a junior. Currently Arafa holds the school's record for career goals and assists, with 70 goals and 68 assists for a total of 208 points in her three years at Allatoona. Arafa has played club soccer for the North Atlanta Soccer Association and Concorde Fire Soccer Club, as well as four years with the Georgia Olympic Development Program team.
Coach King on Herrera and Arafa:
"Monica and Suzanne are local players that we have had the chance to watch for many years and are strong players. Both have very good soccer IQ. They think the game well, the read the game well and they are very technical players. They have played on good teams and use the ball well. Monica can also play as a forward, but both of them have similar abilities in their use of the ball and their technical ability of being able to play with both feet, great touch and good distribution."
Kemp, a four-year letterwinner for LaGrange high school, broke high school record for most goals scored in a single season after posting 46 goals during her YEAR season. She is a two-time MVP for LaGrange and played club soccer for the Cobb County Lady Chiefs, participating in tournament such as the Disney Cup, the State Cup and the Score Tournament.
Coach King on Kemp:
"Cassidy is a true, sort-of 'take on,' winger-type player. She is very quick, has good feet, crosses the ball well and is the sort of player that goes at defenders all the time. She is not the type of player you like to mark because she is very quick and fast as well. She is a threat in behind, but she also moves very well with the ball at her feet."
A three-time all-academic and all-region selection at Lee County high school, Sturdivant also earned all-conference second-teams honors following her freshman season, as well as all-conference first-team accolades during her junior year. Sturdivant has played club soccer with the Lee County Lightning and the Triangle United Soccer Association, where she led her team to various tournament championships, including the 2013 state championship.
Coach King on Sturdivant:
"Olivia is a very good goalkeeper. She is a tall, strong, mobile keeper that communicates well and has soft hands. We expect her to be a big contributor to the program and somebody that can potentially come in straight away and start for us."
While at Florida Reed did not appear in a match, but was a part of a team that advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. While at Venice High School in Kennesaw,Ga., Reed was on ESPN's Class of 2012 Defenders to Watch list and led Venice to the state championship in 2011 and a state finalist finish in 2009. She was a member of the ODP 2010 Region III team, as well as the IMG Soccer Academy club team, where she was named the 2011-12 IMG Soccer Academy Player of the Year. Reed was selected to attend the U.S. Youth Soccer national ODP camp in February of 2010 and the ODP National Championships in March of 2010.
Coach King on Reed:
"Brittany is a very strong player on the ball. She is quick, aggressive and good in the tackle. She reads the game well and has good pace and distribution. She can play as a central defender or she can play as a right back. As a right back she is a big threat going forward with her pace, strength and crossing ability."
Johnson played in 13 matches for Georgia during the fall 2012 season. As a Bulldog, she registered two shots, including one on goal, in 174 minutes of action. Prior to her freshman season, Johnson was a four-year varsity starter and four-time all-region performer at Fellowship Christian High School. While in high school, Johnson led FCS to a state finalist finish in 2012 and advanced to the state final four in 2011, while also taking home MVP honors following the 2011 season. A member of the Georgia ODP team and the North Atlanta Soccer Association, she was named an ESPN top 150 prospect. With NASA, she claimed two state titles in 2008 and 2010 and was a three-time state finalist, while also taking third place in the national championship tournament in 2011 and was national league champions in 2010.
Coach King on Johnson:
"Elizabeth is more of a central defender or holding midfielder. She uses the ball very well and is very composed on the ball. They [Johnson and Reed] are the type of players that we like to have on our team. They are not going to panic under pressure. They are used to playing in big games and are they are settling in very nicely."
Kennesaw State University