Goalkeeper Genevieve Richard owns nine shutouts.
They've been to the NCAA Tournament 17 times and are ranked 12th in the country, but even die-hard Wisconsin Badger fans would be hard-pressed to name a member of their team.
Who am I talking about?
The Badger women's soccer team sits at 13-2-1 this season, and has the look of a team planning to make a deep run into the postseason. Wisconsin opened the season with six straight victories in which they allowed just one goal. The Badgers were 11-1 before dropping a 2-0 decision to seventh-ranked Penn State on October 5. Now, after a 4-1 win over Minnesota on Oct. 18, the Badgers head into a huge home weekend against 16th-ranked Rutgers on Oct. 24 and Maryland on Oct. 26. Two wins would likely secure them the number 2 seed for the Big Ten Tournament that begins on Nov. 5 in West Lafayette, Ind.
So how is head coach Paula Wilkins' squad winning at such a clip? Are the Badgers an offensive powerhouse or a lock-down defensive unit? Likely a little bit of both. Wisconsin ranks second to Penn State in scoring at 2.12 goals per game. Senior Cara Walls leads the team and is second in the Big Ten with 11 goals on the season, including five game-winning goals. Canadian teammate junior Kinley McNicoll has eight goals this season. The Badgers have been shut out just twice in 16 games this season -- and one of those was a 0-0 tie.
Defensively, Wisconsin has been nothing short of a fortress. The Badgers have allowed only seven goals this season, which is second in the league, behind only this coming Friday night's opponent, Rutgers. Another Canadian, senior Genevieve Richard, has started every match in goal for the Badgers, owns nine shutouts and a microscopic 0.46 goals-against average.
Richard gets plenty of help as the Badgers' defense permits only an average of 3.88 shots on goal per match.
Even though the Badgers have made it to the tourney many times, they've escaped the second round just once since 1994. Is this the year the Badgers break through? This weekend's matches will be another indicator if the Badgers can stand up to the Big Ten's best. If they prove themselves there, the nation's best await.