Kayla Martello of Rockville Centre  was named Most Outstanding Player...

Kayla Martello of Rockville Centre  was named Most Outstanding Player after scoring five goals to lead Boston College to the women's lacrosse Division I national championship with a 14-13 win over Northwestern on Sunday, May 26, 2024.  Credit: Eddie Shabomardenly / Boston College

CARY, N.C. — Kayla Martello said Boston College was playing scared, down six goals after the first quarter of Sunday's NCAA Division I women's lacrosse national final against Northwestern.

Then something clicked for the Eagles.

"There was absolutely no reason to be scared of them," said Martello, who helped her team remind one another that the moment wasn't too big for them.

Martello, a senior attacker from Rockville Centre who played at Sacred Heart High School, scored five goals as second-seeded Boston College rallied for a thrilling 14-13 win over top-seeded Northwestern at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Boston College, making its seventh straight appearance in the championship game, avenged last year's final loss to Northwestern in winning its second NCAA title (2021 was the other).

Martello was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after scoring four of her goals in the second quarter and leading the comeback. Junior attacker Emma LoPinto (Manhasset) scored Boston College’s first goal with a behind-the-back finish. Andrea Reynolds' goal on a free position and Martello's first score cut the deficit to 6-3.

Northwestern responded to make it 7-3, but Martello had the answers, scoring her third and fourth goals of the day to get Boston College within 8-6 at halftime. 

“She knows this stage and she knows what to do to win,” said LoPinto, who finished with two goals and an assist. “We got a message about leaning on the seniors. She's one of those seniors that, every day I came in and I learned something new from her. She's awesome and I couldn't be more proud.”

Tewaaraton Award finalist and Northwestern sophomore attacker Madison Taylor (Wantagh) scored three goals, her last giving the Wildcats a 9-7 lead in the third quarter.

After Northwestern went up 10-7, it was LoPinto's turn to respond. The Florida transfer snuck around the left side of the crease to make it a two-goal game. A shot at the final second of the third quarter from Mckenna Davis cut it to 10-9. Izzy Scane, who led Northwestern with five goals, restored the two-goal cushion. But Boston College wasn't backing down at this point.

Scared? Not these Eagles.

A 4-0 run started with LoPinto's assist on a free-position goal and ended with Martello's fifth goal, as she again fired from the inside for a 13-11 lead with 5:55 remaining. Reynolds' scoop-and-score on a rebound had given the Eagles the lead for good at 12-11.  

Scane scored twice late to get Northwestern within one both times. The last was on an assist from Taylor, who had three draw controls in the final five minutes.

Wildcats head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller complimented Taylor’s performance, emphasizing how steady the Long Island native has been for Northwestern all season.

“She's very reliable in that way and I'm sure these ladies would say that she's really a joy to have on the team,” Amonte Hiller said of the Long Islander. “She's always smiling and just gives her heart.”

Just like Boston College did on Sunday as it refused to lose on the sport's biggest stage for a second straight year.

For seniors like Martello, midfielder Belle Smith (Westhampton Beach) and defender Hunter Roman (St. James/St. Anthony's) — all of whom were part of the Eagles’ national championship team in 2021 as freshmen — this win serves as a fitting end.

“Our term is ‘bookend it’,” Martello said, “and we've been searching for that all year. So it's amazing to bring that back.”


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