Experience returns from back-to-back playoff teams

by Joe DiBlasi

Gilman School soccer coach Jon Seal starts his 16th year as the leader of the Greyhounds, and he is expecting to be in the hunt again this season.

The Hounds lost heart-breakers in overtime in the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, and they have another playoff caliber team again this year under Seal.

Seal has coached in the conference for the last 27 years. Prior to taking over at Gilman he was an assistant, along with Steve Nichols at McDonogh, when Seal’s late father Bill was the Eagles’ head coach. Bill Seal had a long and prestigious 25 year career at McDonogh.

Jon Seal said, “I feel great about this year’s team. We only lost three starters from last year’s squad, and this group is anxious and excited to get out there and make another playoff run.

“I liken this team to those that I had in 2010, 2011, and 2012 when we had a very good mix of seniors and young players, a great mix, a good blend of talent.”

Seal returns keeper Grant Farley, an All-Conference goalie as a freshman last season. With Farley anchoring the nets, Seal said the Hounds will be solid defensively, and they will have some skill players up top.

Other Gilman starters will include seniors Logan Paff (forward), Avero Merlo (midfield), Luke Unger (midfield), Tyler Martinez (midfield), Greg Diette (centerback), junior Jack Stuzin (forward) and sophomore forward John Malancon (up top).

Malancon had a good freshman year, Paff will be an offensive threat, and if the Greyhounds get some goals from Merlo, Martinez and Unger along the way they will be a contender.

“There are a lot of talented teams in the conference and we will have to work hard and execute in order to get over the hump,” added Seal. “Everyone is working hard and looking to improve everyday.”

Pictured above: (From left, back row) Grant Farley, Greg Diette, John Malancon, Logan Paff. (Front row) Luke Unger, Avery Merlo, Tyler Martinex and Jack Stuzin will be key contributors for the Greyhounds.