North Stars' Alpajaro to play for the Hoyas

Port Elgin's Francesca Alpajaro (centre) poses with her parents Peter and Joanna while she unveils her commitment to play for the Georgetown Hoyas Women's Lacrosse team in 2021. Photo submitted.

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Port Elgin’s Francesca Alpajaro is taking her considerable talents to Georgetown University where she’ll be playing for the Hoyas women’s lacrosse team starting in September.

The Owen Sound North Stars and Team Ontario product signed her national letter of intent this week, committing to the NCAA Division I program that was ranked in the Top-25 in the nation in 2019.

“I felt that it would be a great fit for me,” she said by phone Friday.

Alpajaro has applied to be a human science major at the university’s nursing and health school. She has ambitions to attend medical school after completing her undergraduate degree.

A passion for hockey turned into a summertime lacrosse hobby when Alpajaro was 12-years-old.

“I started playing hockey first with a lot of my friends and in the summetime a lot of them decided to come to Owen Sound to play lacrosse and I thought I would try it out,” she said. “It definitely took some work. I still even struggle with a lot of stick work, but I find running is kind of my forte and kind of what sets me apart.”

She was selected to be a member of the Team Ontario program at the age of 15 with the under-17 squad.

Lyndsay Brooks, who has coached Alpajaro both locally and with Team Ontario, said the defender is one of the best one-on-one shut down players her age in the province.

Brooks said Alpajaro was a standout player in her second year with Team Ontario and started every game for the team, including some games against the U.S. National Development Team.

“We thought we were going to get blown out of the water, but in our first game we hung in there,” Alpajaro said. “I actually ended up getting MVP of that game and that’s when I kind of realized maybe I could take this further than just a sport that I played in the summer.”

Brooks said “Franny” is a special kid. The pair spent a lot of time travelling as a part of the Team Ontario program.

“She is smart and funny and organized. She did most of the process on her own and I was only there for guidance,” Brooks said. “I cannot say enough good things about Franny’s work ethic, her abilities on the field and as a leader. We are so proud of her and she will represent the North Stars and the Team Ontario program exceptionally well.”

Alpajaro is following in the footsteps of former Owen Sound North Stars who have continued to play and learn down south. Amanda Jones played at Belmont Abbey College and Brittany Stephens earned the Great Midwest Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year, and first-team all-conference honours, two years in a row while playing at the University of Findlay (Ohio).

“I’ve had such a great experience in the North Stars program. These coaches I’ve had the last few years have really made it possible for this to happen,” Alpajaro said. “I always used to be the girl who would idolize those types of players who have gone off to school . . . I’m really grateful to be able to be that kind of person now for the younger generation that are coming up, and I definitely want to give back at some point and help coach some of the younger girls.”

The Hoyas women’s lacrosse team was formed in 1977.

Since then, they have won 11 Big East Conference championships and played in 15 NCAA championship tournaments making the final game twice.

The current team is coached by Ricky Fried who is now in his 16th season at the helm of the Hoyas program.

The university is well known for its academic prowess with alumni that include two U.S. Presidents.

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