Dahl, Whittle lead Charger lacrosse to new heights
Taylor Dahl grew up playing every sport she could before she heard about lacrosse from her best friend.
Her friend had lived on the east coast where lacrosse holds a larger footprint on the sporting landscape, and she told Dahl to try it out.
“She introduced me, and from then on I was hooked. I had the talent for it, I loved and just kept playing it,” Dahl said.
From her youth teams to the Alta High School club team and eventually on to the BYU and Utah collegiate teams, Dahl kept playing until she no longer could.
Now Dahl is the head coach of the Corner Canyon girls lacrosse team, her first season at the helm and third with the team.
“I still wanted to be involved with the sport and share my knowledge,” she said.
Though the Corner Canyon girls lacrosse lost in the first round of playoffs this year, the team’s season proved to be its most promising since its inception four years ago.
“We didn't make it past the first round unfortunately, but it was a great experience for the girls. They had the most successful season they've had since (the team’s) creation,” said Dahl.
The Chargers finished with a 7-6 record and cracked the state’s top 12, qualifying them for the Division 1 playoffs, which Dahl said was “one of the highest rankings our club (has) ever seen.”
Besides the burgeoning number of players and valuable talent to the Charger lacrosse team, a crucial force to the team’s success was junior Ashton Whittle.
The all-stater and two-year captain finished the year with 45 goals and six assists despite, Dahl said, playing fewer games and the team not running up the score in games they won.
“She’s an incredible athlete — she can run like no other,” Dahl said.
Whittle is also solid in face-offs, winning almost 63 percent of them, putting her among the league leaders of those who have over 100 face-off draws. Her intensity is what she is known for.
“Passion is one way to describe that girl. It gets her into trouble every once in a while, but she is a very passionate player and it shows every time she steps out on that field,” Dahl said. “She drives to goal with fire in her eyes and she will do what she can to lead the team to victory.”
Whittle was named to the all-state team along with goalie Dakota Halford. Halford graduates this year, along with most of the team’s defense.
But with the roster rising to 40 players and three freshmen starting with varsity, Dahl expects to see the numbers and quality continually improving.
“I see nothing but growth and potential in this program,” she said, adding more numbers are anticipated next year to replace the seven seniors graduating.
With the program on the rise, Dahl hopes to be yearly contenders in the state playoffs.
“I think we can definitely contend for a state championship if we can continue working hard and seeing the growth we have,” Dahl said.
Lacrosse development in the southeast corner of the valley could be further cultivated with some region rivalries. “As long as it’s contained,” Dahl said.
Some of the highlights for Dahl were the Chargers’ two encounters with rivals by proximity — Alta and Juan Diego. Corner Canyon lost in overtime 11-12 to Alta and defeated Juan Diego 9-8 in two close matches.
“It was exciting and the girls played phenomenally well,” Dahl said.
She said it evokes the passionate play from both sides.
“It fosters incredible passion from both teams and you really see the girls rise to the challenge of playing these other girls that they know and some even played with,” Dahl said.