Palacios, Ledezma lead Devils all-league contingent
GYPSUM — Eagle Valley soccer handed out a lot of hardware last week, yet another sign of the program’s emergence in 2015.
The Devils had five players on the all-league team, be they first team or honorable mention. Eagle Valley had five selections in the past two years combined.
That’s the coaches of the Slope acknowledging that Eagle Valley is a major player in the league. And rightly so. The Devils went from 6-8-1 last fall to 12-4 and making the playoffs this season.
The team’s first-team selections were no-brainers.
Senior Aldo Palacios racked up five goals and eight assists this season, including the game-winner against Battle Mountain in the first meeting of the two teams and a goal and an assist at Glenwood Springs, a 2-1 payback game for the Devils.
But his statistical line doesn’t tell the whole story. Palacios was the anchor of this squad as the team’s center back.
“He is the leader for the team who overlooks the whole team from the back,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said. “He always wanted to play forward, but based on the strength of our team and our players we put him in back. He put on his overalls and sacrificed for the strength of the team.”
It’s worth noting that Eagle Valley only allowed 12 goals in 16 matches, which is a statement about his defense. Palacios could also press forward when necessary. Battle Mountain coach David Cope described Palacios as having “the ability to glide over the pitch.”
Aaron Ledezma certainly falls under the category of a “no kidding” first-teamer. Fifteen goals and 14 assists in 16 games make it so. Give Ledezma space and he will hurt you. Even if he had little space in which to operate, he still could hurt you.
“His technical ability is superb,” Horruitiner said. “He doesn’t have the size, but he made up for it with hard work and determination.”
Noel Ruiz ended up getting short shrift as far as all-league first team goes, according to Horruitiner. There’s always someone. Six goals and 12 assists is nothing to sneeze at. While an honorable-mention selection, he was, nonetheless, named the team’s MVP.
“My tiny keeper,” as Horruitiner jokingly called Bryan Grado is an honorable-mention selection. He had a 0.75 goal-against average this season.
Paco Serna rounds out the selections with seven goals.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.