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She’s one of the Flames
Kiana Casavant is just one of the guys with the South Okanagan Flames lacrosse team.
The 17-year-old admits when she first joined the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League squad, she wasn’t sure how her teammates would treat her. It wasn’t about being excluded, but maybe not including her in plays.
“I’m kind of one of the guys,” she said. “It is nice. I have 20 older brothers.”
Casavant hangs out with the younger guys she played midget lacrosse with from her time in the Heat minor lacrosse program. However, she said her teammates have all been very welcoming.
Flames captain Kaid McLeod said it’s great to have her. Casavant gets respect for bringing a strong work ethic.
“That’s what it comes down to all the time,” he said.
Flames coach Kevin Thompson has worked with Casavant since she began playing lacrosse in 2010 after wanting a switch from soccer.
“She goes out there and she works her butt off. She can’t push around these big guys, she gets in the way and she works hard,” he said. “Just a great positive attitude.”
Thompson applauded Casavant for hanging in there and facing older and stronger opposition in the TOJLL.
“It must be very difficult for her,” said Thompson.
There has been a difference making the jump from midget to junior, but when it comes to the physical side, Casavant said there isn’t much of a difference.
“Guys are still big in midget,” said Casavant, who is one of two females in the league along with Kelowna Raider Chelsea Weisgerber.
So far she hasn’t been injured when taking big hits and said the league isn’t as aggressive as it used to be. However, Thompson noted a challenge for her because of the size difference.
“It’s hard for her to work into the defence when a guy can just, with one hand, knock her on her butt,” he said. “She perseveres through it.”
McLeod said Casavant is a key part of the Flames. She brings strong defence and likes to move around on offence when some players like to stand around.
“She cuts through the middle and moves around, which is confusing for their defence. That’s always helpful,” he said.
“I have been hammered a few times, but I walk away from it,” she said.
She has mostly enjoyed the experience of playing junior B.
“It’s nice playing up at junior because it’s more skilled,” said the Pen High grad, adding she senses a better environment with experienced players. “I like junior a lot because I think that I have learned a lot more. It’s a good environment and you can ask anything. I think I’ve gotten a lot more knowledge of the game from playing junior.”
Casavant can be seen in action with the Flames when they host the Raiders and Vernon Tigers at Penticton’s Memorial Arena June 23 and 24, at 7:30 p.m. respectively.