Player of the Year: Andrew Harris, Gilman School

Andrew Harris knew expectations were high for Gilman School’s boys’ soccer team heading into the 2010 campaign.

“We came out knowing this season could be our year,” said Harris. “We had a great group of seniors leading us forward, from the guys on the bench to the guys playing on the field like Joe Cahalan and Jared Sullivan controlling the midfield. We had a lot of great leadership in those guys. The rest of us try to help those guys out and win it for them.”

No one arguably did more, on and off the field for the MIAA A Conference champions than Harris. The junior goalkeeper is the inaugural Varsity Sports Network’s Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year.

Harris was a co-captain along with Cahalan, a senior forward and junior defender Sullivan. Greyhounds coach Jon Seal said Harris is a born leader.

“Everyone wants to play for him,” said Seal. “That’ll make him successful on the high school level and beyond.”

There wasn’t a player in the entire area more dominant at his position than Harris this fall. He set a school-record with 13 shutouts and allowed 11 goals in 22 contests.

Against the some of the nation’s best talent in the MIAA A, Harris allowed just eight goals in league play as the Greyhounds won their first championship since sharing the A crown with Archbishop Curley in 1995. Harris enjoyed the physical as well as mental challenge each match brought.

“I enjoy those situations where [McDonogh’s] Michael Gamble dribbling down the field at me,” said Harris. It’s between him and me. If I let it in, we lose; if I stop it, we win.”

Harris’ defining moment came against McDonogh School in the A finals at Spalding. Playing against the Eagles’ elite attack of Gamble, Malcolm Harris, Julian Griggs and Kyle DeVinney, Harris stopped 12 shots in a 1-0 decision.

“It was no easy feat. The guys in front of me played incredible the whole game, I just tried to do what I could to preserve it for us,” said Harris, who received tremendous support all season from back mates Wulff, Tanner Vosvick, Mike Dunbar and Sam Wancowicz. “I think that we deserved to win it and it showed with the heart we played with that game and the whole season.”

“He was making saves from three yards out,” said Seal. “Just his presence in the goal enables everyone to rally around him.”

Harris posted at least one shutout against six of the seven A squads, as well as a shutout of B Conference champ St. Paul’s School. He said his experience with the nationally-renowned Baltimore Bays Club program helped him matured.

“He constantly works on his craft,” said Seal. “He’s gotten a lot better at making the initial save but securing it whether catching the ball or paring it out of danger. That comes with repetition.”

But leadership comes naturally. Seal remembered wanting to talk to the Greyhounds before warm ups for the A finals.

“Within the first three or four minutes, Andrew got everyone together. At that point, I knew we were ready to play,” Seal said. “What makes him a great goalkeeper is his skills set. What makes him special is he’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around.”


jon sealCoach of the Year: Jon Seal, Gilman School

With eight returning starters, Gilman School boys’ soccer coach Jon Seal knew he had potentially his most talented team heading into the 2010 campaign.

The key word is potential.

“The success of our team was going to predicate on how hard we worked in practice and how hard we’re willing to work to improve,” said Seal. “It’s been a glaring weakness of ours, we kind of plateau out about midway point of the season then faltered towards the end and we’re not playing our best soccer entering the playoffs.”

There was no midseason swoon or postseason fade for the No. 2 Greyhounds, who captured the MIAA A Conference crown for the first time since 1995 (co-champ with Archbishop Curley). Seal is Varsity Sports Network’s inaugural Boys’ Soccer Coach of the Year.

The Greyhounds capped a 17-2-3 season with a 1-0 victory over McDonogh School for the title at Archbishop Spalding. It was Gilman’s second win of the season over the Owings Mills powerhouse which started the season No. 3 nationally by ESPNRise.

It was culmination of a long process for Seal, in his seventh season at the Roland Park school. From the first day, Seal said the players took ownership.

“I think with the leadership, not only from our three captains, but the upperclassmen, they really set the tone early,” said Seal. “It was a team that continued to work harder and harder as the season went on. I don’t think it was coincidence at all we were playing our best soccer going into the playoffs and we were the healthiest we’ve been all season.”

With 19 letter winners scheduled back next fall, Gilman will again be in the championship hunt. The Greyhounds were at the bottom of the MIAA A when Seal first took over.

“This was a season people will be talking about for a long, long time,” said Seal, “not what we accomplished but how we accomplished it.”