To get Nicole Totland to talk about anything but her Red Bank Catholic teammates or her coach is next to impossible.
In fact, she speaks to just about anything except her own accomplishments, even though the junior’s resume of accomplishments on the golf course talks growing with each passing tournament.
“She is incredibly unselfish,” RBC coach Bill Kusch noted. She doesn’t like the attention on herself. She’s only concerned about how the team does, which says a lot about her and what her parents instilled in her. It was also the trademark of her older sister, Taylor.”
So Totland let her clubs do the talking throughout the season, and that insured the Asbury Park Press girls’ golf Player of the Year would remain in the family. Because after Taylor Totland, now an All-American at Furman, secure it four straight years, Nicole Totland has now earned the honor for a second consecutive season.
“I’m just very thankful for my team, for my coach,” she said
“I do everything with them and I respect them so much and I don’t know what I’d do without them.”
And it’s likely they feel the same way, as Totland continued her dominance of the top area tournaments, while helping to keep the Caseys on a level with the top teams in the state.
“I thought she was very steady all year,” Kusch said. “I hate to say it’s just expected that she’s going to be performing a certain way and the scores she posts, and sometimes I think I take it for granted. But it takes a lot of hard work for her to do that.”
For much of the season, Totland made it look pretty easy.
She opened the season by winning her first Monmouth County Tournament title, having finished second behind Colts Neck’s Emily Mills a year ago. And her round of 78 at Suneagles Golf Club in Eatontown was seven shots better than her nearest competitor, as the Caseys won the team title with a four-player total of 342.
Then, at Deal Golf and Country Club, she made it two straight victories at the Shore Conference Tournament, posting an 85 for a two-shot victory, while the Caseys rolled with a 367 total.
At the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, she helped the Caseys finish second behind Ridge.
Along the way, she and classmates Arianna Palmeri and Ceilie Reynolds helped the Caseys finish with an unblemished record in team matches for a second straight season.
“I think all three — all three were co captains — definitely all other girls on the team really look at them really looked to see what had to do to improve game,” Kusch said.
With virtually their entire team returning next season, the Caseys are hoping to close the gap on Ridge, which has now won five straight NJSIAA team titles.
And as part of that process, Totland hopes to lead by example when it comes to the younger players on the team.
“I think being a leader is important, especially in golf,” Totland said. “Because you have (course) management, etiquette, the respect, and you don’t see that in too many of the sports. I try to be a good role model for them so they can learn for the future, not just for RBC, but so that it will stay with them.”
Staff writer Stephen Edelson: sedelson@gannettnj; Twitter: @SteveEdelsonAPP