Wheaton Academy doesn't do it the hard way. The Warriors do it the Hardy way.
The clinic was open early, often and throughout for top-seeded Wheaton Academy, as Warriors midfielder Sam Hardy got the 7-0 party started over No. 4 Belvidere in a Class 2A Burlington Central sectional semifinal with a goal and an assist on the Warriors' first two goals, while five others contributed.
Jacob Kaptianiuk, Grant Rougas, Reid Culberson and Ty Seager all had goals and Matthew Ruff scored 2 that cut time in half for the Warriors (20-3-1) to help outshoot Belvidere 15-6 and leave early to prepare for its sectional title game against Burlington Central Friday at 5 p.m.
"Proud of everyone on the team for coming out and having a unified vision for what we wanted to do tonight," said Warriors coach Jeff Brooke, whose team had success in the final third. "We were able to get behind a little bit, particularly tonight and once again, it's tribute to the guys working hard, guys like Sam.
"A lot of eyes have to watch Sam so sometimes outside backs are consumed by what he's doing in the middle and that helps our wingers, I'm proud of what he's doing and obviously who he is."
Hardy scored from 25 yards out in the ninth minute and the helped Kapitaniuk score the second goal on a free kick that made it 2-0 with 20 minutes left in the half.
The Warriors must have been watching Hardy because it seemed to open up the flood gates as Rougas' goal was a product of a shot from Casey Zimmerman, which redirected off Belvidere goalie Roman Camargo and back to Rougas and Culberson scored on a breakaway late in the half. Credit the Bucs (10-17) defensive style that developed an easy way of attack.
"They played a real high line and pressed us high," Hardy said. "So me, Ty, Casey, I knew they were going to be there, making those runs and I can play it into the corner and I know they'll work really hard to get there and do what they can."