By Warren Rappleyea
Red Bank Catholic (RBC) High School’s girls golf team continues its quest for another undefeated season and looks to bring home another NJSIAA South Jersey championship.
The Caseys have already won the Monmouth County and Shore Conference championships and are 13-0 in dual matches, having downed the likes of Holmdel High School, Ranney School, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School and Wall High School along the way.
Senior Nicole Totland continued her dominance in the area by taking the individual crowns at both the Monmouth and Shore tournaments for the third year in a row. The Monmouth University-commit shot an 83 to win the Shore Conference title April 25 at the Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood.
Totland overcame a sluggish start with a strong finish to edge Wall’s Micaela Crines.
It’s something of a family tradition to win the event, as Totland’s older sister, Taylor, won the conference title four times.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have at least one of the Totlands in our lineup for seven years,” RBC coach Bill Kusch said.
Nicole Totland is averaging about 40 strokes per nine holes and has become even more consistent this spring, Kusch added. Her putting has also improved.
“Nicole is tougher mentally, and she trusts her swing more than she used to,” Kusch said. “She’s just a phenomenal player and to see her playing with such confidence in herself is a great thing. She’s an outstanding all-around golfer.”
Totland has had plenty of help this season. Lefty-swinging Ariana Palmeri is averaging 41 strokes and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Shore Conference event. The senior, who will play for Fairfield University next season, has added length to her drives and improved her iron play this year.
Amanda Hart is also averaging 41 strokes. The sophomore’s long drives put her in position to reach par or better on most holes. Kusch noted that Hart has shaved six strokes from her average a year ago.
Senior Ceilie Reynolds, who will also play at Fairfield University, is averaging about 45 strokes thanks to countless hours working on upgrading the accuracy of her drives. Reynolds finished eighth in the conference tournament.
Eva Babson rounds out the Caseys’ usual starting lineup. The sophomore’s solid short game helped her to an 11th-place finish in the conference tourament and a 48-stroke average. Seniors Maggie Lynch and Brianna Werdmann have both done well when called upon, averaging about 50 strokes apiece.
In addition, three sophomores — Catherine Coffenberg, Tara Hausen and Erin Wright — have shown plenty of promise, and Kusch expects them to play larger roles next spring, as RBC loses five seniors to graduation.
“We have a great group of girls, and they work well together and they’re all good players,” the coach said. “Our goal now is to stay healthy and focused the rest of the way.”
The South Jersey sectional is set for May 17 at Bay Lea in Toms River.