By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
MARLBOROUGH – If you’re a female athlete playing field hockey, softball or basketball for Marlborough High School (MHS), chances are you’ve heard the head coach say a lot of the same things.
That’s because, between those three sports, Sean Mahoney and his daughter Michaella Mahoney have coached five different varsity and junior varsity teams.
Michaella in her first season as the varsity field hockey coach after coaching both the JV team and the varsity softball team last year. Sean Mahoney is the girls basketball and football coach at MHS.
“Some of the girls who play field hockey, softball and basketball only have a Mahoney as their coach,” Michaella said with a laugh in a recent phone interview. “There are some things I’ll say and the girls will be like ‘oh, you sound just like Mahoney’ or ‘that sounds like something he would say.’”
“They get a kick out of my wedding pictures and seeing him dressed up,” she added.
Michaella has watched her father strengthen both the MHS football program and, more recently, the girl’s basketball program over the years. Now, she’s trying to give the field hockey program some stability that’s sorely needed in order to build a foundation of success.
“The seniors and juniors have had so many different head coaches across their career at Marlborough High that it’s kind of like there’s this getting-to-know-you, period,” Michaella said. “If there’s an established coach for all their years, they could bypass that.”
“They’re doing a great job and I can’t say enough about their great attitudes and work ethic,” she continued.
While the transition period was a bit easier since Michaella had previous experience in the program, and with the softball team earning the team’s first win of the season on Sept. 27 with a 2-1 victory over Quabbin still had that program-altering feel to it.
“It was huge for morale,” said Michaella. “It’s hard as a coach when you see so much hard work being put in and the results aren’t necessarily there. We’ve been playing against teams with more depth and more experience, but our girls never put their heads down, never complain, they just keep going to work.
“That win just shows them that they’re doing things the right way and if they keep doing them, the results are going to come,” she continued.
The team is led by seniors Allison Keenan, Andrea Rennie, Sarah Cronin and Siarra Francis. Rennie plays goalie while Cronin plays sweep. Keenan is a midfielder. Francis is injured but still serves as goalie captain.
As she seeks to help build up the MHS field hockey program, Michaella coaches with a recognition of how high school sports fit into the lives of her players.
“We talk a lot about how this is [the players’] high school experience,” she said. “We can coach for however many years we want, but they only get these four years, so we’re giving them a lot of responsibility in the decision making. It’s their experience and I appreciate that.”