When you think of scoring threats in recent Montville High boys' soccer history, the name Leeman immediately comes to mind.
After all, Tyler Leeman owns a school record 79 career goals and led the state in scoring with 38 in 2010 as a senior. He and brother Connor Leeman, who led the state with 20 assists as a sophomore, made All-State during the Indians' Class M state championship season.
The younger Leeman returned for his junior year at midfielder and has maintained his star status with 16 goals and 12 assists. The Leemans have undoubtedly established themselves as Montville boys' soccer's first family.
But the Indians' recent rise to the top of the ECC - the Indians play in their first conference tourney final tonight - and Class M states - they are ranked No. 2 in the state poll - is more than a pipeline from one talented family tree.
Ten players have scored goals during their 15-2 record to date. Returning defender Jake Piersa is one of the state's best backs, keying a defense that has allowed just nine compared to 67 scored.
And one player has taken a quantum leap from quality role player during the state title run to leading scorer and All-State level performer. Jeff Tryon (18 goals, 15 assists) is becoming a Division I college prospect right alongside the Leemans.
Tryon, who scored both goals in Montville's 2-1 win over East Lyme in the ECC semifinals Wednesday, is Patch's Athlete of the Week. Montville hosts NFA in the ECC Final 6:30 tonight.
"From a soccer standpoint, he is easily one of the best players in the state." Montville coach Colin Delaney said. "From a personal standpoint, Jeff is also an all-around great person. He is a fierce competitor on the field but a well-mannered and respectful young man off the field."
Tryon was Montville's second-leading scorer last year, but his 10 scores were dwarfed by the UConn-bound Leeman.
"When you have someone score 38, you are going to be under the radar with 10," Tryon said. "Tyler's graduation was obviously a big loss but Connor and I had no doubt our offense would be potent again. He and I are like brothers. We've played soccer together since we were eight. We have a sense of where each other is on the field and feed off each other."
Versatility and variety spices Tryon's game. He played four different positions in Montville's marathon 1-1 four-overtime with with Bethel in the Class M final last season. He has scored three goals off headers from Connor Leeman's trademark long throw-ins. He has scored off direct kicks, penalty kicks, from 25 yards out, off of long runs and off of one-touch redirects.
"My favorite way to score is when it hits the back of the net," Tryon said. "I have no preference how I do it. The season is far from over, but it's been extremely satisfying producing for a 15-2 team. Some people thought we'd lay low this year after graduating Tyler and our other starters, but we've been a force."
The 6-foot Tryon is nearly as tall as the Leemans (Tyler is 6-1 and Connor 6-3) and also athletic. He plays basketball and golf at Montville as well.
"After two straight intense sports like soccer and basketball, golf is nice and relaxing," Tryon said. "
Soccer remains his ticket to a college scholarship, and he and Connor Leeman have plenty of showcase opportunities in the upcoming states and all of next season.
"Jeff has always shown signs of being a special player," Delaney said. "He is incredibly technical, extremely strong on the ball, and very quick on the attack. He has tremendous field vision and can provide assists just as well as he finishes goals of his own."
He's proven to be a vital cog in what could be Montville's best season ever ... something few expected after a program best 18-4-1 record a year ago.
"We thought that if we could rebuild our defense, that there was a lot of potential for success because we returned a pretty potent attack that we thought had not yet reached their potential," Delaney said. "Of course there was a lot of skepticism throughout the state and conference that we were going to have to rebuild a little because we lost so many defenders and a big scoring threat in Tyler. But to be honest we saw a lot of development in our younger players last year with the run that we had and we knew that this group of players had the potential to have a big year on the attack."