Palacios, Ruiz make first-team for Eagle Valley

Eagle Valley's Noel Ruiz, left, is one of two first-team, all-league selections for the emerging Devils, along with teammate Aldo Palacios.
Anthony Thornton | Daily file photo |

They are the MVP and the MIP and the Slope learned that PDQ in 2014.

Eagle Valley soccer juniors Aldo Palacios (Most Valuable Player) and Noel Ruiz (Most Improved Player) got their respective awards from their teammates this week. They also are first-team all-leaguers, as voted on by the coaches of the Western Slope.

Both should be no surprise. Palacios was a no-brainer vote. He scored early and often for the Devils and had his biggest games of the year when the spotlight shone the brightest.

He was the Man of the Match in Eagle Valley’s first win over Battle Mountain since 1999. Huskies coach David Cope called his play in that match, “awesome.”

“He can play two or three positions for us and he responds,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said.

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Becoming A Playmaker

Ruiz became a playmaker this season. While there were lots of assists, his biggest had to be on the game-winner to Nikolaus Opel in overtime of a 3-2 win against Steamboat.

“He manages the tempo of the game,” Horruitiner said. “He helped us find and identity and style of play.”

Junior goalie Bryan Grado is an honorable-mention selection. When Horruitiner made the switch to the junior, the goalie gave the Devils a physical presence in net.

Noticeably absent are David Ortiz and Aaron Ledezma. If a player picks up a red card, then he is not eligible for the team. Bookings happen and we cast no aspersions on this duo. This is just to say that Eagle Valley’s all-league contingent could have been larger.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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