Anthony Cestaro might not be the tallest player on Massapequa's boys soccer team, but he sure can jump.
The 5-8 senior midfielder got his head on a handful of balls against Syosset on Friday. None was more important than his header midway through the first half for the first goal in the Chiefs' 2-0 win.
"I definitely like playing in the air because I have the ability to jump a little bit," Cestaro said. "I'm not the tallest guy, but I just try to get up and mix things up."
Cestaro said he expected Tyler Hutchinson's free kick to sail deeper into the box. He adjusted with the trajectory and leaped above the pack, symbolic of the Chiefs (2-0-1), who jumped past Syosset (2-1) and into first place in Nassau AA-I.
"He got his head on that goal, and it was tremendous for us," coach Matt Burke said. "That really sparked us."
The defense, led by Matthew Johnston and goalkeeper Jacob Liese (three saves), held tight and Pete Meyer added an insurance goal in the 65th minute. Liese made a pair of critical snags late, once on a free kick from about 30 yards out and the other on a corner kick.
"Jacob played great," Cestaro said. "He came out really well, and he bailed us out whenever we needed him to."
The Chiefs know they and Syosset are traditionally among the top teams in Nassau Class AA. Last year, the Braves eliminated Massapequa in the county semifinals.
Massapequa's first shot at redemption came on the heels of its draw with Uniondale (0-2-1).
"Syosset's always a great team," Burke said. "They're always at the top of the conference. They're always well-coached. They're always a rival, so for us to bounce back and get a win was huge for these guys."