‘The consummate teammate’: After three seasons as a backup, Ball State Soccer senior goalkeeper Alex DeRuvo is shining in a starting role.

Senior goalkeeper Alex DeRuvo prepares to block Eastern Michigan from getting a goal on Sept. 23, 2021, at Briner Sports Complex in Muncie, IN. Amber Pietz, DN
Senior goalkeeper Alex DeRuvo prepares to block Eastern Michigan from getting a goal on Sept. 23, 2021, at Briner Sports Complex in Muncie, IN. Amber Pietz, DN

Patience is said to be a virtue, and in the case of Ball State Soccer goalkeeper Alex DeRuvo, remaining patient has paid dividends. 

DeRuvo, who is entrenched in the Cardinals’ starting role for the first time since stepping on campus in 2018, has made the most of her opportunity. Against bigger opponents, including Purdue, Cincinnati, Butler and Xavier, DeRuvo has stood her ground.

“In the beginning, we played some pretty big teams.” DeRuvo said. “I think we prepared well for them — I’m happy now that we’ve played well. I’m happy that I got my first shutout. Although giving up all those goals wasn’t the best thing, it’s gotten us ready for MAC play.”

During her childhood, DeRuvo wasn’t primarily a goalkeeper, and playing soccer at the collegiate level wasn’t in her mind until she was around 13 years old. In her middle school days, DeRuvo played both goalkeeper and midfielder. She played for the Michigan Hawks soccer club for five years after making the team as a goalkeeper.

Throughout the recruiting process and while playing at Salem High School in Canton, Michigan, DeRuvo said she knew Ball State was the school for her and her family. She committed to the Cardinals her junior year. 

“It was really important to me that my parents, especially my dad, were able to come watch and see me play,” DeRuvo said. “He coached me for eight years before I went to travel soccer. I always wanted to go somewhere that was close enough to home but far enough away that I still had the college experience.”

DeRuvo spent the first three seasons of her career as a backup goalkeeper, playing in three matches behind former goalkeepers Maitane Bravo and Tristin Stuteville. However, even though she didn’t get much playing time, she knew Ball State was her home.

“Honestly, it was the people here,” DeRuvo said. “There’s 10 people in my [graduating] class, and I love them all. I think a lot of it was the team and the atmosphere that I had. I told my dad from the moment I got here, even if I don’t play, I don’t want to leave. I love it here, and I love the people here — it would take a lot for me to want to leave.”

Senior goalkeeper Alex DeRuvo catches the ball before it can go into the goal against Akron on Oct. 3, 2021, at Briner Sports Complex in Muncie, IN. Amber Pietz, DN

DeRuvo recorded her first shutout this season in Ball State’s Mid-American Conference opener, a 0-0 draw against Eastern Michigan Sept 23. In MAC play alone, DeRuvo has given up four goals over four games, helping lead the Cardinals to a 2-1-1 conference record. 

“I give my back line a lot of credit, ” DeRuvo said. “They played really, really well. I didn’t have to do a whole lot —  they basically played the game for me.”

Ball State Women’s Soccer head coach Josh Rife has coached DeRuvo since he first arrived at Ball State in 2019. He, along with her teammates, speak very highly of her character. 

“She’s been the consummate teammate,” Rife said. “Up until this point, she’s played behind two veteran keepers, so she’s had to wait her time. It kind of goes one of two ways for players: either they sulk and become bitter, or they get better. She’s done a great job of preparing herself for this opportunity — throughout the entire time, she’s been a great teammate. She’s been very supportive of the players in front of her.” 

As a former goalkeeper for Marian University, first-year assistant coach Gary Yohe said he recognizes traits of what makes a player great at the position, which DeRuvo has shown. 

“Alex is a very coachable kid — that’s the thing I’ve taken away most,” Yohe said. “Nearly after every game, every practice, she’s asking for feedback. That says a lot about her and where her goals are. On the field, she’s very aggressive —  almost too aggressive. We have to find a balance. Off the field, she’s very outgoing. She’s everything you ask for in a goalkeeper.”

This season will be DeRuvo’s last on the pitch, and she has seven regular season games left before she receives her bachelor’s degree in marketing. While she said she doesn’t plan to play professionally, soccer has been a part of her life for so long, and she doesn’t know what she will do without it as part of her everyday life.

“I don’t know where I would be without soccer.” DeRuvo said. “I was kind of debating whether to go to school at home —  maybe I’d be there if I didn’t have soccer. I don’t know what I would do.”

Contact Nate Grubb with comments at nathaniel.grubb@bsu.edu or on Twitter @GrubbNate43

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