WEST GROVE - The way R.J. Zoba's day was going, the West Chester Rustin High School junior boys lacrosse player most likely did not want it to end.
Zoba was winning on-and-off the field for the Golden Knights at the fifth annual HEADstrong Rivalry Games on Saturday afternoon.
Prior to the start of Rustin's game, Zoba was selected as the HEADstrong honorary recipient for the Golden Knights. That was all the motivation he needed to carry it over on the field.
Zoba finished with a game-high five goals as Rustin scored that total in the first quarter en route to a dominant 10-3 victory over Shipley at Avon Grove High School.
Zoba now has 20 goals on the season, which is second in the Ches-Mont League. He was quick to thank his teammates for finding him the open looks as the game went on.
"I got to credit my middies and fellow attack men for figuring out how to get a quick take to the net,' Zoba said. "There were two off-the-man opportunities they allowed me to take advantage of.'
Zoba got Rustin (5-3) on the board just 1:31 into the game to give the Golden Knights a lead they would never relinquish.
Two possessions later, Mark Campanile provided the highlight goal of the afternoon. Campanile took a pass on the wing, converted a spin move in the zone and fired a shot past Shipley goalie Ian Walsh to make it 2-0.
Just 10 seconds later, Matt Hosking put a shot past Walsh to give Rustin a 3-0 lead. Cam West then fired one at the 6:43 mark to make it 4-0.
Three goals in 53 seconds was all Rustin needed to pull away from the Gators on a windy afternoon.
"We have the ability to score on anything,' Zoba said. "We can make some noise this year with that.'
Zoba's second goal give the Golden Knights a 5-0 lead, then freshman goalie Kyle Mullin was relied upon to seal the win in net.
He didn't disappoint.
Mullin finished with four saves, two of which prevented Shipley (1-5) from getting within striking distance in the second quarter.
The freshman knew he had help along the way.
"It all starts with the great group of guys in front of me,' Mullin said. "They helped me out a lot and give me opportunities to make big plays.'
With Mullin preserving Rustin's lead, the Golden Knights were able to turn the game into a rout by halftime.
Zoba scored his third goal and Tommy McGuane followed as the Golden Knights took a commanding 7-1 lead into halftime.
Campanile now has 18 goals for the season. Jack Muliawan also scored for the Golden Knights.
The win was the fifth for Rustin this season, which is the most the school has had in a year since 2010.
Mullin has noticed the change in the program since head coach Tommy Hannum arrived and is expecting it to get better as the season goes on.
"I know things weren't great, but there's just a different vibe now,' Mullin said. "Everyone's working hard and it's good for the program that the wins are coming. We just got to keep focused.'
W.C. Rustin 10, Shipley 3
Shipley 1 0 1 1—3
W.C. Rustin 5 2 1 2—10
Shipley goals: Allison, Moore, F. Campanile.
W.C. Rustin goals: Zoba 5, Campanile 2, Hosking, West, Muliawan.
Goalie saves: Walsh (S) 7; Mullin (WCR) 4.