It’s never easy replacing a legend, but that’s exactly what UW sophomore Alex Rigsby x’14 is trying to do. After the graduation of Jessie Vetter ’09, who won ninety-one games and posted thirty-nine shutouts during her four-year career — both NCAA records — goaltender was a serious question mark for the UW women’s hockey team.
Last year, Rigsby showed there was absolutely nothing to worry about when she stepped in goal for the Badgers and helped Wisconsin win its fourth national title in six years, posting a 27-1-1 record in her freshman season.
Growing up just a short drive from Madison in Delafield, Wisconsin, Rigsby watched Vetter shut down opponents for four years and knew that she had some big skates to fill when she decided to come to the UW. Like most great players, though, Rigsby viewed that as an opportunity, not a hindrance, for her career.
“It was definitely a big shadow that I stepped into,” Rigsby says. “But, coming in, I wasn’t afraid of that shadow, and I’ve been thinking about it as more of a challenge than anything.”
Rigsby may have had a competitive advantage coming into college in that she played with the boys in high school, leading to an easier adjustment once she joined the Badgers. In fact, she was so good in high school that the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League drafted her in 2009, making Rigsby the first female player ever drafted by the league. Despite all she accomplished in high school, her ultimate goal as a team-first collegiate player was to win an NCAA tournament.
“Winning a national championship is one of the biggest goals of the team and dreams of the girls on the team,” Rigsby says.
With that national title already under her belt, Rigsby appears on the path to not only step out of Vetter’s shadow, but to create a sizable one herself by the time she graduates.