Francisco backstops T-Birds to back-to-back titles
Bea Francisco didn’t pick up her first hockey stick until Grade 8. Now, at 20, the goalkeeper is a member of the national women’s field hockey team and a two-time Canadian university champion with the University of B.C. Thunderbirds—this year and last.
A third-year kinesiology student at UBC, the Richmond resident posted three shutouts in five games, including a 3-0 victory over the University of Toronto Blues Sunday in the Canadian university women’s field hockey championship final played in Toronto.
“This is a very special team just because we jell so well on and off the field,” Francisco said. “A lot of us have been playing together for a couple of years now and sharing this is what makes (winning) so special.”
Completing her third season at UBC, Francisco is one of eight national team players on a T-Birds’ squad that also includes Hannah Haughn and Kate Gillis.
“Both have a lot of international caps and they bring a lot of leadership,” Francisco said.
Though an avid athlete, Francisco didn’t plan on playing field hockey. She just decided to demonstrate her school spirit by showing up for tryouts on the first day of classes at her high school (Little Flower Academy).
“They asked who wanted to be goalie and I thought it would be kind of cool,” she said.
“It came pretty naturally to me.”
Francisco earned her first international cap at the age of 18, playing a home match for Canada against Chile.
Two other Richmondites were part of last weekend’s final. Gabrielle Jayme was a first-year midfielder on this year’s UBC team, while Kaelan Watson played her fifth and final season with the University of Toronto. A graduate of Hugh McRoberts Secondary, Watson scored five goals and played all 12 games for the Blues this season. The 2010 Canadian championship MVP was also named the 2011 varsity Blues female athlete of the year in 2011.