All-RTC boys soccer: Ruiz, star for improved Vikings, is RTC Player of the Year
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Tippecanoe Valley boys soccer team doubled its win total in its first year under new coach Trevor Brown. They went from seven wins in 2021 to 14 wins in 2022.
The highlight of their resurgence was senior midfielder Jonathan Ruiz.
Ruiz is a two-way player. He scored 27 goals, he dished out 18 assists, and he always seemed to play a key role in the Valley defense as well.
The highlight of Ruiz’s season and the feat that turned our eyes toward him for this honor was his performance against Wabash on Oct. 3. In a sectional quarterfinal, Valley beat Wabash 3-1 on Wabash’s home field, and Ruiz had all three goals. The win was just the second in a sectional game in school history and avenged an earlier loss to Wabash.
Valley is in a very tough Class 2A sectional, and they will certainly miss Ruiz now that he is graduating. Future generations of Vikings will be trying to meet his standard.
From a team standpoint, the story of the year occurred at Argos, where the Dragons shook off a dreadful regular season to win a sectional title and battle Faith Christian down to the wire in a regional semifinal.
Headlined by Ruiz, the following is our third annual All-RTC team. We thank area coaches for sending us their scores and stats and for giving us their thoughts and insights on their players.
Having said that, we make this list ourselves. It is ours and ours alone, and we take full responsibility for it.
Jonathan Ruiz (Tippecanoe Valley) (Player of the Year) – Valley dominated the middle of the pitch against lesser opponents because of their speed and skill, and Ruiz was a main reason why.
Gio Arriaga (Tippecanoe Valley) – With Ruiz graduating, Valley becomes Arriaga’s team in the fall of 2023. Arriaga had 26 goals and 12 assists in 2022.
Rowan Jellison (Caston) – Jellison has always had speed, and this year, he polished his finishing skills as a senior and tallied 17 goals.
A.J. Mills (Argos) – Mills plays so hard, and his leadership shone through during Argos’ sectional run.
Sean Richard (Argos) – With his strength and soccer intelligence, Richard was the bedrock of Argos’ defense.
Mitchell Shafer (Rochester) – Shafer was an accomplished playmaker who led the Zebras with 14 goals.
Parker Wallace (Rochester) – Nobody made more acrobatic saves in our area than Wallace, a junior in his third year as a starter.
Andreas Rosas (Tippecanoe Valley) – Only a freshman, Rosas is a canny playmaker already. He had seven goals and 15 assists, and we think those numbers will only grow moving forward, especially given his speed.
Jonathan Pacheco (Caston) – Pacheco scored 33 goals the last two years for Caston. He was a creative playmaker.
Christian Ramirez (Tippecanoe Valley) – A consistent four-year starter for Valley, he had 11 goals in 2022.
Ethan Keller (Culver) – Keller was a speedy, strong striker for the Cavaliers, an experienced presence on an inexperienced squad.
Parker Wallace Mitchell Shafer Gio Arriaga
R.J. Keranko (Rochester)
Luke Stults (Argos)
Sawyer Crace (Argos)
Ethan Petz (Argos)
Eric Eikenberry (Tippecanoe Valley)
Nate Manikowski (Argos)
Ashton Macedonio (Culver)
Grant Bailey (Rochester)
Edgar Aguilar-Mendez (Caston)
Carson Craft (Tippecanoe Valley)
Caleb Stinson (Caston)
Brady Evans (Caston)
Landon Stevens (Culver)