SYKESVILLE — Chris Gunther just knew that somebody could beat the Turbos this year.
The problem was, "nobody had done it," said Gunther, who coaches Palmerre Building Inc., which competes in the Freedom Optimist lacrosse program's 9-11 boys division.
Sunday afternoon, though, his team did, and won that division's post-season championship in the process.
Palmerre edged the Turbos,a 9-0 regular season divisional champ, 4-3, on an overtime goal by Mike Rabinovitz.
Other finals in the three Freedom Optimist post-season tourney championship games played at Sykesville Middle School saw Restivo Auto top A Final Touch, 10-6, in the 12-14 boys division and The Lumberyard dismantle Shaw Builders, 18-6, in the 11-14 girls circuit.
Gunther's Palmerre team had meandered through most of its 4-5 regular season.
But it warmed to its postseason task near the end by winning its last two games and beating Eldersburg Vet, 4-2, in Saturday's semifinal game.
Then came the Turbos, which already hadbeaten Palmerre three times this year.
Undaunted, the underdogs held the favorites to a 3-3 tie during regulation.
They then made short work of the overtime period as Rabinovitz
got the ball after the opening face off and tucked it in the net.
The climactic win culminated what had started as a rebuilding year with Gunther and assistants Herb Starlings, Mike Veneziani
and Joe Fitzgerald continually switching players around to see where they played best.
"I guess we got them placed just in time," Gunther said. "We were late bloomers."
Restivo, on the other hand, flowered throughout the year.
Thirteen returning players from last year's squad gave the team depth and experience that were the primary reasons for its success, said assistant coach John Eybs.
These factors, plus a high-scoring offense, carried it to an 8-0 regular season in which "we could pretty much score as we needed to," Eybs said.
But in Saturday's semifinal,Restivo had to hold off a late charge by Euler's Liquors to win, 9-7, after leading, 8-3, in the third quarter.
Crease attackman TommyLuster and midfielder Brian Eybs led the winners' attack with three goals each.
Sunday's final was close for a while and Restivo actually trailed, 3-2, in the first half.
But Eybs scored twice, the second goal with one second remaining in the half, to put Restivo on top to stay, 4-3.
It then shot to a 9-4 third quarter lead and cruised from there.
Eybs with four goals, and Luster with three, led the way.
Ryan McKenzie scored three times for Final Touch and Jeff Bachman scored twice.
"They're the only team we hadn't beaten (thisyear)," said Final Touch Coach Mike Miller, whose team was second inthe regular season. "They've been a hex on us all year."
UnderdogShaw Builders also hoped to be the hex on The Lumberyard, just as itwas last season when it beat that team in the postseason tourney finals.
But Shaw, only third-best in the four-team girls loop at 2-5-1 during the regular season, was facing the first-place finisher, which had won seven of eight regular season contests and beaten Shaw three times.
History seemingly began to repeat itself Sunday as Melissa Gettemy put Shaw ahead with a goal in the championship game's opening seconds.
Her second goal then tied things, 2-2, about six minutes later in the first half.
But The Lumberyard responded with a blistering offensive display, outscoring Shaw, 9-2, to pull into an 11-4 halftime lead.
It continually widened the lead thereafter behind the scoring of Amy North, Amy Rose, Devin Dowling and Melissa Campbell, each of whom scored three goals.
Gettemy had three for Shaw and Danielle Picker added two.
Lumberyard coach Gigi Jones said herplayers were a bit jittery before the game as thoughts of the previous year's finale roved through their minds.
"They were a little worried about that, but I told them win or lose, we'd had a great season," Jones said.
Experience and depth were also the big thing this year for Lumberyard, which returned a large number of last year's players.
"Almost every player on our team scored or had an assist this year. We played as a team," said Jones, who also coaches the Liberty High girls junior varsity lacrosse team.
Megan Horneman, who assisted her sister, Rachel, in coaching Shaw, said her opponents' experience was the deciding factor.
"But I think we played pretty well against them. We had a very young team," she said.