At 5-5, Massapequa midfielder Ryan McMahon can easily get lost when bodies converge in front of the net. "I'm not going to win many head balls in the air, so I try to use my body," McMahon said. "I use my low center of gravity to my advantage."

McMahon also used his sharp instincts, slipping behind the defense to score on a header 26 minutes into the game to spark No. 2 Massapequa to a 2-0 victory over No. 3 Plainview JFK Sunday in a Nassau AA semifinal played at Farmingdale State

The Chiefs (14-1-1) will face No. 1 Hicksville for the Nassau AA title on Wednesday night at 7:30 at Bethpage High School. The Hawks finished 10-3-3.

"There were a bunch of bodies in front and I was marked tightly,' said McMahon, who has scored both of his goals this season in the playoffs. "I broke to the back post, and fortunately I got my head on it."

The pass came from fullback Matthew Johnston, a defensive stalwart who joins the offense on corner kicks, which was the case on McMahon's goal. "The defender was looking the other way so I played it in front," Johnston said. "Then the smallest guy on the team put it in."

Johnston led a spirited defense that allowed goalkeeper Jacob Liese to register a shutout with only four saves. "I used to play midfield and I love to run," Johnston said. "That's what I do."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The Chiefs put the game away with 16:55 remaining on Matthew Pascale's goal off a feed from Peter Meyer, who with 11 goals and 10 assists is one of the county's leading scorers. McMahon is hardly that.

"It's pretty surreal," McMahon said of his playoff tallies. "I'm just thankful to make the most out of my opportunities."

You could say he's coming up big.