Although this year’s win in the Division II finals, 2–1 over Milton last weekend, was the first for the Montpelier High School boys soccer team since 1996, Coach Eric Bagley points out that the team has come close several times in between. Bagley, who coached the MHS varsity girls for 11 seasons before taking on the boys team three years ago, credited the players’ hard work during the summer of COVID-19 as a measure of their commitment. Several played during the shortened club soccer season with either Capital Soccer or Burlington-based Far Post. In addition, “they got together on their own over the summer to practice and work out before the official season began” and Bagley could begin coaching. Although they suffered some losses early in the season, each was against challenging opponents — and the loss was by a small margin. The defeats were against Stowe, which became the number 1 Division II seed; Harwood, ranked number 3; and St. Johnsbury, ranked number 1 in Division I. “We play a tough schedule because it gets us ready for the playoffs,” Bagley said.