By Kevin J. Stone, Contributing Writer
WESTBOROUGH – There are two sides to every coin when it comes to winning and losing.
For Westborough High School Girls Varsity Soccer head coach Paul Mumby, that meant there were plenty of positive ways to look at things following a heartbreaking 2-1 loss against Whitman-Hanson in the Division II state semifinals on Nov. 17.
The Rangers’ season ended. But with a 14-1-5 win-loss record, it was another successful campaign in a long line of them during Mumby’s now 14-year tenure with the team.
“I like to think I do know what I’m talking about,” Mumby joked in a recent phone interview. “For us to be consistently good obviously makes me proud, but it’s about the girls always buying into what we’re doing.”
“Success breeds success, so when the new kids come in and see a team that has a run like the one we had this year, they see they’ve got to step up too if they want to contribute to that success,” he continued.
Mumby has worked hard to create an environment that not only breeds success, but fun and competition as well.
“It’s a relaxed atmosphere, it’s a fun atmosphere and they all seem to enjoy playing for the high school team,” he added. “The things we do at practice, it’s hard work at times but I try to make it fun. It’s not just drills and running.”
“When the season ends they’ve disappointed and that’s not the same everywhere,” Mumby said. “I’ve talked to kids [while coaching club soccer] who say they can’t wait for it to be over.”
That enjoyment, Mumby said, is important.
“Every year I keep thinking, are we going to be good next year?” he said. “We’re going to lose this player or that player, can we still be good? I’ve been lucky to have great kids and we’ve been able to do well just about every year here.”
A program doesn’t have this type of success if the coach doesn’t have a good relationship with the AD as well. Joanna DiCarlo came on board as the Westborough AD in 2007, the same year Mumby came over to coach the Rangers.
“It’s been great working with her, she came on, I think, the same year I did,” he said. “It’s the same as any working relationship, you have your differences at times, but she’s a great AD to have.”
“She’s very organized and she’s someone that represents Westborough well,” Mumby continued. “If I ever need anything, she’s always there for me.”
DiCarlo was at Westborough’s semifinal game against Whitman-Hanson. She then spoke to the team after their loss, Mumby said, telling them that both she and the rest of the town of Westborough were proud of them.
Seniors Abby Beaugaurd, Callie Henderson, Elsi Aires, Riley McNamara, Kristin Wilichowski, Ella Sklar and Sophie Scerbin all had pressure on them in their final year, this year, to deliver. They did.
But perhaps no one had more pressure on them, this season, than Mumby’s daughter, junior Mia Mumby.
Paul had the opportunity to coach his other daughter, Emma Mumby, through her high school career and has been able to Mia now as well.
“Coaching them in high school as a dad has been something you dream of,” Paul said. “Being able to do it and do it successfully has been great.”
On Nov. 17, it was Mia Mumby who nearly tied the game for Westborough when she drilled a shot toward the goal late in the second half, only to be denied by a diving save.
“They both handled being the coaches’ daughter well and love the game as much as I do,” Paul said of his daughters.
“I think I’ve brought them up right, they’re good people,” he added.
Westborough’s recent end to its season stings the team.
After that loss, though, Mumby said, an opposing coach approached him to congratulate him on the strength of his team.
Pushing forward, Mumby and the entire Girls Soccer program are looking to make another playoff run next year.
“We’re definitely a force,” Mumby said.