SADDLE RIVER — There isn’t much room to hide from their coaches for sisters Daniella and Michaela McMahon.
“The car rides home are the worst [after a loss],” Daniella, Saddle River Day’s star junior lacrosse midfielder, said with a laugh.
“And it doesn’t stop there,” said Michaela, the Rebels’ freshman standout. “It’ll keep going and going for days.”
The McMahon sisters — just two of five talented girls in the family — are coached by their mother, Karen, and father, Paul, two competitive former lacrosse stars who played at William & Mary.
Daniella and Michaela like to joke that “Dad is the nice one” when analyzing their play, but even he isn’t shy to confront his daughters when they make a physical or mental mistake on the field — though that doesn’t happen very often.
Thanks in large part to the impressive play of the McMahon sisters, who have combined for 86 points through SRD’s first seven games, the confrontational car rides home have mostly been avoided so far this season.
On Tuesday, Michaela (32 goals, 10 assists) scored four goals, and Daniella (27 goals, 17 assists) added a hat trick and five assists in Saddle River Day’s come-from-behind 13-8 win over Pascack Valley. The Rebels are 6-1.
But the No. 1 at the end of that team record — a 23-8 loss to Immaculate Heart on March 27 — is what motivates the McMahons.
Together, the family is striving to help launch the third-year program — coming off a successful 13-win season last year — to even greater heights.
“I think my mom [the head coach] watched the tape of that IHA game five times,” said Daniella, a fast, physical and aggressive Stanford-bound player who has 275 career goals and 55 assists. “It’s always more with her after a loss.”
There’s an admitted delicate balance regarding the player-coach/mother-daughter dynamic, and all involved agree Karen has been tougher on her children in the past than other members of the team.
“It’s sometimes hard to separate the two,” said Karen, who said that attitude is quickly changing as more and more talented athletes at Saddle River Day come onboard (such as freshman Alexa Tsahalis, who scored four goals Tuesday) and expectations change accordingly.
“I’ll tell them at the field, ‘Don’t talk to me like a mom.’ ”
“But then she goes and talks to us like a daughter,” Michaela joked.
Growing up in an all-lacrosse, all-the-time household, Daniella and Michaela are the most current McMahons to star in North Jersey.