20201016-SPT-FH-Keene vs. Bellows Falls

Claire Cocklin, left, who had the lone goal for the Blackbirds, fights for the ball during Keene’s matchup against Bellows Falls Thursday at Keene High School.

The Keene High field hockey team could not hold onto a fourth-quarter lead Thursday in a 3-1 loss to Bellows Falls in Keene.

Sophomore Claire Cocklin scored the lone goal for the Blackbirds, giving Keene a 1-0 lead late in the second quarter.

That one-goal lead held up until the fourth quarter, when Bellows Falls’ offense caught fire, scoring three times.

“We have a really young team. For us, it’s just experience,” said Keene head coach Michelle Tiani. “They are very young up front.”

“Last week we were down 4-0 in the first half, so for us to be leading going in, we felt really good,” Tiani said.

Keene controlled the ball throughout the first half, keeping up the offensive pressure. Eventually, the ball found Cocklin’s stick in front of the net and she snuck it past the opposing goalie with less than four minutes to go in the half.

Bellows Falls found some momentum on offense coming out of the break, but Keene’s defense made the stops when they needed to, preserving their 1-0 lead through the third quarter.

“We have really experienced defenders, two seniors and a junior,” Tiani said. “So, they work really well together.”

About a minute into the fourth quarter, Bellows Falls tied the game. Keene immediately turned up the intensity.

The Blackbirds gave themselves ample scoring opportunities following the Bellows Falls goal, even hitting the post multiple times, but couldn’t cash in.

Following the nearly five-minute offensive push for the Blackbirds, Bellows Falls regained possession and made a push of their own, but sophomore goalie Bella Venezia kept the Blackbirds in the game.

“She’s come up like a rock star,” Tiani said. “(Venezia) just stepped it up. She just kind of goes into the zone.”

But one side had to give in, and it was Bellows Falls that cashed in off a corner with just over five minutes on the clock.

Venezia made two incredible saves off the Bellows Falls corner, but the Blackbirds couldn’t clear the ball and Bellows Falls took advantage of the third rebound in front of the net, giving them a 2-1 lead with 5:19 to go.

With 44 seconds left, Bellows Falls sealed the deal with its third goal of the quarter to take the 3-1 lead, which held up until the final buzzer.

“We had some unfortunate injuries right at the end, and they took advantage of that,” Tiani said. “But I thought it was a good game.”