Bloomingdale entered the King Tournament last year after struggling through the first three games of the season. The Bulls went on to win the tournament and enjoyed the feeling so much they decided to go on a 22-game winning streak that included the Class 6A state title.
Bloomingdale kicked off what it hopes will be another title run Thursday when it beat Leto, 6-3, in a game that featured almost as many yellow and red cards as it did goals.
"I'm proud of our kids," Bloomingdale coach Dave Tennian said. "They played with emotion for the first time this season. Hopefully, that will carry over."
What the game seemed to do more than anything, though, was set up a rematch of the title bout on Monday when Leto travels to Bloomingdale for a regular season game.
The Bulls (6-1) struck early as Jeff Yarborough dribbled deep into the corner and crossed a pass to the front of the Leto goal. The ball deflected off a defender and bounced to the foot of a charging Shaun Dugan, who buried the shot into the net.
Jeff Prugh closed out the first half with a perfect shot from the top of the penalty box to put Bloomingdale up, 3-0.
Prugh ran up on a deflected shot and blasted it to the top right corner to give the Bulls their winning margin.
"That goal by Prugh was the highlight for me," Tennian said. "That was beautiful."
Leto (4-6-1) seemed to wake up in the second half and play with the intensity it had shown the past two games.
It was also a second half that saw tempers flare several times, including six yellow cards (five to Bloomingdale), one red card awarded to a Bull defender and three Bloomingdale goals called back because of offsides.
Bloomingdale stopper Matt Carpenter received a red card after the referee said he had incurred two yellows during the game. But Bloomingdale coaches say they plan to appeal Carpenter's ejection because the yellow card should have been his first.
The Falcons' first score came when Daniel Westgate lofted a shot over the Bloomingdale goalkeeper's head.
But two goals is as close as Leto would get as Prugh, who finished as the tournament's top scorer with five goals, closed out the scoring with 10 seconds remaining in the game.
Also scoring for Leto was Davin Bonilla and Jeff Foxenberger, who was named the tournament MVP.
Besides having to contend with Bloomingdale on Monday, the Falcons also travel to Gaither to take on the Cowboys at 8:30 tonight.
Leto beat tournament favorite Gaither, 1-0, in the quarterfinals while playing a high-pressured defensive game that seemed to perplex the Cowboys.
In the consolation game, Armwood's Jeff Phillips broke a tie against Hillsborough with less than two minutes remaining as he took Eric Palmisano's cross and knocked it into the net with his left foot while sliding on the ground.
The Hawks would go on to win the game, 3-2 and take the consolation bracket.
John Quinn scored twice for the Hawks with assists from Aaron Bloise and Alex Sclavakis.
Hillsborough got goals from Paul Bibeau and Juan Parra.
Top scorer: Emily Janss, Bloomingdale (9 goals).
MVP: Jennifer Wilson, Bloomingdale.
Top scorer: Jeff Prugh, Bloomingdale (5 goals).
MVP: Jeff Foxenberger, Leto.