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BBP's perseverant Kelsi LoNigro is back from long grind following knee surgery

Bayport-Blue Point girls lacrosse attack Kelsi LoNigro gives

Bayport-Blue Point girls lacrosse attack Kelsi LoNigro gives her grandfather Richard LoNIgro a game ball for his birthday on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at Port Jeff Sporting Goods. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The photograph on their refrigerator suggests that elation was the only feeling pulsing through Kelsi LoNigro's veins at the final buzzer in Bayport-Blue Point's 11-9 win over undefeated Mount Sinai in the county championship last year.

"Her arms are raised and she's ready to hug her teammates," Kelsi's father, Craig LoNigro, said. "And she's wearing the biggest smile."

But LoNigro had to watch that game from the sideline with her knee in a brace after an ACL tear she suffered in a game three weeks earlier.

That's what made her performance in Wednesday's game at Westhampton so special.

The Phantoms were trailing 4-2, but LoNigro's goal with two minutes left in the half sent Bayport-Blue Point into the break with momentum. LoNigro, a sophomore feeling close to 100 percent nearly 11 months removed from her injury, had two more goals in the second half to help the Phantoms to a 12-7 comeback win.

"It was great to get back and make a difference," she said.

"Plus, it was my grandfather's birthday. I was thinking of him."

LoNigro had surgery on her knee three days after Bayport-Blue Point's county-final win. Three hours of rehab a day, three days a week, for nine months, and she was back for the team's first game of 2015.

"It wasn't just a physical challenge," LoNigro said. "You have to overcome a lot of mental obstacles, too."

A couple of weeks later, a virus sidelined her again, this time for 10 days.

She made her return in the game against Westhampton.

"From the day she tore her ACL, looking her in the face with tears in her eyes, to where she is now, 'perseverance' is the only way to describe it," coach Ryan Gick said.

Now, LoNigro is hoping she gets the chance to be a part of another county championship team. Said LoNigro: "That's what I've been looking forward to the most since the day I got hurt."

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