The fifth-year Kennesaw State standouts will take the soccer field for one final season after knee injuries forced both to take medical redshirts last year. The last time they were in a uniform together was in 2007, when the Owls won their first Atlantic Sun Conference championship and qualified for the NCAA tournament.
"It will be fun playing with these girls one last time," said Attin-Johnson, a Trinidad native who will be returning to her familiar post in the midfield. "Being one of the more experienced girls on the field, it will give us a better chance of clinching the regular-season championship and the conference title."
Dingle started 20 of 21 games at forward for the Owls in '07 and was an All-Atlantic Sun selection and the MVP of the conference tournament MVP. The Conyers native led the A-Sun that year with 17 goals and 39 points.
Attin-Johnson was also an all-conference selection in '07. She only scored six goals, but three were game-winners and she led the Owls with a .222 shooting percentage. Before suffering her injury, Attin-Johnson played for her homeland's national team in an Olympic qualifier.
Even without their two injured standouts, the Owls remained a solid team in 2008, finishing with an 11-4-5 record before suffering a penalty-kick loss to Belmont in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun tournament.
Dingle and Attin-Johnson, along with a sophomore-laden midfield, may be the ingredients Kennesaw State needs to win its second conference tournament in three years.
"They both have done a lot on the scoring side," said Kennesaw State coach Rob King, who is entering his seventh season at the helm. "Our attack (last year) was depleted without them. Caitlin scored goals and Maylee created goals for a lot of people."
In place of Dingle and Attin-Johnson, eight now-sophomores had promising debut seasons last year and will continue to be key to the Owls' hopes for success in 2009.
Former Kennesaw Mountain standout Kristin Kranick was one of the standout freshmen in '08, finishing second on the team with six goals. She will compete with junior Kristin Marietta for the nod at forward alongside Dingle.
Fellow sophomores Brittany Vining, Katie Scott and Lauren Ruffini are frontrunners to start at midfield with Ruffini likely to pursue a more defensive role. Sophomores Thais Gibson and former Harrison player Alyssa Mahan are also expected to see time in the middle.
"They have experience under their belts," Dingle said. "They all had great years last year and it will only make us better this year. We've worked hard over the summer and everyone is looking good for this year."
The Owls will miss first-team all-conference player Jessica Kalonji at defender, but return two starters in junior Bridget Gaughan, a former McEachern standout, and junior Sadjr Williams.
Junior Carolina Austin will likely be a starting defender after leading Kennesaw State with 10 assists last season, and freshman Jade Dempster is also penciled in to be a starter.
Junior goalkeeper Staci Pugh had an inconsistent year in 2008 after taking a medical redshirt the year before, but King said Pugh is having a stellar offseason. Freshman Melissa Hutto is currently listed as the backup.
Katie Piotrowski, the Owls' starting goalkeeper in 2007, is back with the team after playing one season near home at the College of New Jersey, but she won't be eligible to play again at Kennesaw State until 2010.
The Owls will open the '09 season Friday at Georgia before hosting the Mexican national team in an exhibition Sunday. The Owls will also be tested when it hosts Minnesota and travels to Auburn before opening Atlantic Sun play Sept. 12 at Mercer.
For Kennesaw State, 2009 will be a season of unfinished business.
"We won conference in 2007, and in 2006 we won the conference regular-season (title) but lost in the tournament (semifinals). That got us going," King said. "The 2008 season was a good one, but we wanted to win conference and go on to the (NCAA tournament). We want to set the record straight against the teams we didn't play well against."