Athletic and competitive, Alexis Pilkington of West Islip helped carry her team to the Long Island high school soccer championship last year.
Known as "Lexi" to her friends and teammates at West Islip Senior High School, the 17-year-old midfielder graduated early and was preparing to start college this fall with a soccer scholarship.
On Sunday, Pilkington ended her own life in her family's home, said her father, Thomas Pilkington, 48.
"I'm not hiding what happened in hopes it saves another kid," he said. "They don't understand how much suffering and pain this does to those that are left.
"Remember her for all the positive things," he said as he greeted groups of young people coming and going from the home. "She was always upbeat, always the competitor, always sticking up for her friends."
Thomas Pilkington, a longtime member of the New York Police Department, said his daughter had recently been in counseling, and that she felt therapy was helping her. "It wasn't any one thing because life was overall good. There is no one answer," he said.
Outside West Islip High School Monday, where counselors met with grieving students, friends said news of her suicide spread quickly Sunday as online memorials sprouted. Several said they were shocked that their popular, outgoing friend took her own life.
Robert Cutrone, 17, a senior, said, "She was really the last person you'd think would do this."
Junior Daniel Badolato, 17, said, "She was smart, she was good-looking, she was a good soccer player, she was really a well-liked person."
Pilkington lived her whole life in West Islip and was to attend Dowling College on a partial soccer scholarship. In addition to playing for the school and the West Islip Soccer Club, she also played lacrosse and had recently been certified as a soccer referee.
Pilkington scored nine goals with five assists this season to help the school win its first Long Island Class AA title since 1989. She was also a member of the school's Century Club, reserved for students who put in more than 100 hours of community service, said a school counselor.
A memorial service will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Claude R. Boyd / Spencer Funeral Home in Babylon. Her remains are to be cremated. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be sent to the West Islip Girls Soccer Booster Club, which is creating a scholarship fund in Pilkington's name.
With Chau Lam, John Hildebrand and Chris Mascaro