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The Daily Tar Heel

MVP McPike Leads Tar Heels to Title

The game-winning goal gave UNC's women's lacrosse its first ACC championship and helped McPike to her first tournament most valuable player award.

"It just got knocked away from me, and I still realized there was a whole path to goal," McPike said. "I had time to pick it up, gather myself and shoot it."

McPike, the conference player of the year, ranks in the ACC's top 10 in points and goals scored. She also ranks second to teammate Andy Fortino in turnovers caused.

The UNC senior finished the championship game with five goals, tying her career-high. She scored seven goals in the weekend tournament.

"She's awesome," said Maryland coach Cindy Timchal. "McPike is a great player, (with a) high level of intensity the whole game. Good energy. Fast. A good team leader."

After the game, though, she was anything but full of energy. With a sweat-soaked blue bandanna on her head and eye black still on her face, McPike talked about the team's play and deflected any personal credit for its accomplishments.

Instead, she talked about how much the seniors have experienced and what a relief it was to finally capture a conference title.

"Our senior class has been through the ups and downs of the program," McPike said. "For four years we've all benefited from each step along the way, so we knew how to take a loss and how to pull through a big win. And we were finally able to put it all together."

The Tar Heels rest atop the ACC thanks in large part to McPike's play. She and teammate Kellie Thompson netted eight of UNC's 11 goals in the championship game.

McPike also led the team with six shots on goal and was second with two caused turnovers.

But still she pushed aside her billing as the tournament's MVP.

"It's a shock," McPike said. "I'm happy, but I'm also happy more that we won the game."

UNC coach Jenny Slingluff Levy said the Tar Heels needed to find other scoring outlets than the senior from Farmingdale, N.Y.

Slingluff Levy also said she liked the way McPike didn't force UNC's offensive attack but rather let the game come to her.

"I think Christine is a solid, consistent spark for us every game," Slingluff Levy said. "We ask not only her, but especially all of our middies, to contribute on both ends of the field. And I thought she played a really smart game, took her opportunities (and) didn't push the ball too much."

And when McPike did exert herself and try to make something happen, it resulted in the game-winning goal.

"Something like that is not something you think about at all when you're out there," McPike said. "It's kind of an extra gift in a way."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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