Kayla Martello wins NCAA top honor

Rockville Centre’s own hometown lacrosse star wins second championship for Boston College


Kayla Martello, a graduating senior at Boston College, was awarded “Most Outstanding Player” for her performance during the 2024 NCAA Division 1 lacrosse national championships.

The 22-year-old Rockville Centre native was instrumental in mounting a major comeback for the Eagles, scoring five critical goals to help defeat Northwestern in the finals by a score of 14-13.

Boston College was down by six at the end of the first quarter of the finals against Northwestern. It was the second year in a row that these two teams would meet in the final round of the postseason.

Despite an outstanding season, Boston College lost to Northwestern in 2023. It was a crushing blow, but it would be exactly what was needed to spark the fire burning within the Eagles’ offense.

“It was definitely something on the forefront of our minds the entire time,” Martello said. “We were able to look back at what went wrong and make sure to not let it happen again.”

Fearing a repeat performance, the team knew they had to step things up if they wanted to win. Thanks to a series of well-executed plays by Martello and her teammates, Boston College went on to claim its second NCAA national championship title in the school’s history.

“In the two minutes between quarters, the coaches made some great adjustments,” Martello said. “It switched our mindset so that we could make the plays we needed to make and kept building and building off that momentum.”

Confidently, she said that she never thought for a second that there was a chance the team was going to lose.

“Once we get in that rhythm,” Martello said, “we are so unstoppable.”

Following their victory over Northwestern, Martello and her teammates celebrated their achievement with friends and family, who traveled out to see them compete.

Initially, she was overcome with disbelief that they had managed to pull off such a feat to win the NCAA championship in their senior year. The last time Boston College won the title was during her freshman season with the team back in 2021.

“We wanted to bring that (same) feeling to the younger girls on our team,” Martello said. “Finishing our college career with a win … to end on that high was such a big thing for our senior class.” She said the reaction soon turned bittersweet as the reality set in that nine of the players on the team will graduate in the coming weeks.

Growing up in Rockville Centre, Martello developed a passion for lacrosse early in life. She said that while she officially began playing the sport in first grade, she likely picked up a stick even earlier on to play with her father, a Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Hall of Famer, and her three siblings.

“It is a big lacrosse community… Long Island in general has an insane lacrosse community,” she said.

Martello was quickly entrenched in the sport, and as she got older, she competed at higher levels of play. As she got more serious about it, she started to devote every single weekend of her summer to playing or practicing lacrosse. Through the sport, she built lasting friendships while also developing her more competitive tendencies.

She went on to attend Sacred Heart Academy, an all-Catholic girls preparatory school in nearby Hempstead, where she played lacrosse, basketball and volleyball. She was captain of the varsity lacrosse team for two years and was ranked among the top 100 lacrosse players on Long Island. In her junior year, she helped lead the Spartans to victory in the 2018 Catholic league lacrosse championship.

Martello joined the Eagles as a freshman in 2021, and quickly made a statement by scoring six goals in only 15 games during the regular season. She would also score three-straight during the NCAA tournament matches against Fairfield, Temple and Notre Dame, to help Boston College win the D1 title for the first time in history.

Martello has the competitive spirit and tenacity of a sports icon in the making. She finishes her collegiate career with a total of 201 points, including 180 goals and 21 assists in 84 total games played.

In regards for what the future holds, Martello said that lacrosse will always play a major role in her life, however, she doesn’t have any definitive prospects to play at the professional level. However that could all change once scouts get a look at her highlight reel.

When asked if she would want to play at the professional level, Kayla replied: “I’m not going to say never, but as of now I don’t think so.”

In the meantime she plans on getting a job in corporate America while she continues to participate in camps and clinics, to help coach the next generation of lacrosse stars to unlock their full potential.