You could argue that Kate Del Fava is having the most impactful season in Illinois State University soccer history, and possibly in the recorded history of the MVC.
The senior midfielder has 13 goals in 12 games. For reference, the next three players on the Missouri Valley Conference’s goal statistics page have 15 goals combined.
Since the MVC started recording stats in 2002, the only individual campaign near the same level as Del Fava’s was former ISU soccer captain Rachel Tejada, who scored 20 goals in 22 games during the team’s 2013 MVC Championship run.
Tejada boasted a 0.91 goals per game average, while Del Fava sits at an unreal 1.083 (Nearly 24 goals over 22 games). Also worth noting is that Tejada shot 4.91 times per game compared to Del Fava’s 3 attempts. Del Fava’s efficiency is really unmatched by past scoring champions according to the MVC’s archives. Some players may have the volume, but none convert at this high of a rate.
After Tejada, the dropoff in volume is pretty noticeable. Counting back from 2019, the conference’s goal leaders have been: 12, 14, 17, 10, 20 (Tejada), 16, 18 (Tejada), 17, 9, and 4. The average goal leader for the last ten season has finished with 13.7 goals. Meanwhile, Del Fava still has six games and the entire MVC tournament to pass that mark.
The senior has clearly separated herself from the rest of this year’s MVC goals race. Add to that the team’s strong performance and current 8-4 record, and you may be able to put her season next to Tejada’s 2013.
It would be hard to say that Del Fava eclipses Tejada’s impact without a conference championship, however. Regardless, both are incredible players who I want to compare due to their statistical similarities.
But I’m trying not to get carried away with myself, I understand that not every game has been played and a lot can happen. Randomness, as well as countless other factors, can lead to a pace like this to be disrupted.
But it’s fun to sit back and be amazed at some of the video game-like performances Del Fava has put up so far this season. The two-goal game against Omaha, the hat trick against Iowa, the two-goal game after the hat trick, as well as the two-goal game on Sunday, etc.
I say “etc.” because if you take even a light look at the team’s box scores, you’ll see a lot of these multi-goal games.
Games like these are not normal, but somehow Del Fava is making them the expectation. When compared to past goal leaders, at least from the data we have, I think she will finish with the best volume of scoring as well as the best efficiency.
In a nutshell, Del Fava is having a historic season worthy of consideration as one of the best of all time, should her pace continue.