GRANITE CITY - Junior midfielder David Ruiz is a key member of the Granite City High boys soccer team who has played well for the Warriors, despite a 2-9-2 record the team will carry into an IHSA Class 3A regional game at Belleville West on Oct. 17 against top-seeded O'Fallon.
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Ruiz, however, knows that despite the team having a youth movement after graduation depleted the team of all of its starters from the season before, the Warriors will work hard and do what's needed to come out on top and make a good postseason run.
The Granite City junior is a Stillwater Senior Living Male Athlete of the Month for the Warriors.
Granite City ended its regular season on Oct. 12 losing to Collinsville 3-0 in the inaugural playing of the Paz Cup, a new traveling trophy named for Alex Paz, a former Granite City goalie and current Collinsville resident who owns a popular photography business and is a prominent fixture at both Warrior and Kahok games. The Warriors fought the Kahoks hard throughout the match and made it a difficult win for Collinsville.
"It's a tough team we just played. We did pretty well for that team, we stayed pretty close throughout most of the match," Ruiz said in a post-match interview.
Although it has been a tough season for the Warriors, the team still goes out and gives their all, typical of a Granite City sports team, and it truly does mean much to Ruiz and his teammates.
Ruiz is feeling confident about his and his team's chances during the postseason, which would be a return to glory for the Warriors, winning their first state championship since 1990.
"I'm hoping we make it pretty far," Ruiz said. "A couple of wins, hopefully."
On the night, Ruiz felt things went well, for the most part, on a special night for Paz, who played on three state championship teams in the late 70s.
"Collinsville has a good team, pretty much their whole team returned from last year. We have a young team, our whole starting 11 pretty much graduated last year. We did pretty good for a brand-new starting 11 this year."
The match also served as a fundraiser for Paz and his family, where T-shirts and a 50-50 raffle were held to help defray expenses from a liver transplant, which Paz will eventually need as he fights against liver cancer.
"You know, he graduated from here, he played here," Ruiz said. "We wanted to play our best for him."
The Warriors did for the entire 80 minutes, despite the scoreline, and Ruiz is optimistic about his team's postseason chances.
"Hopefully win," Ruiz said. "That's what we're hoping for. Get some victories and move on every game. Try harder, every game."
Again congratulations to David on his recognition as a Stillwater Senior Living Male Athlete of the Month for the Warriors.
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