QUINCY -- Mitchell Murphy swore he'd never seen Peyton Stegeman jump as high as he did in pursuit of a perfectly placed cross in front of the Quincy High School boys soccer team's goal.
That made Stegeman chuckle.
"That's probably true," the Quincy Notre Dame senior midfielder said.
He had a good reason for it.
"That was adrenalin," Stegeman said.
Considering the situation, that's understandable. The Raiders and Blue Devils were knotted at 1 with less than 20 minutes to play in Thursday night's game at Advance Physical Therapy Field when Murphy collected a loose ball near the left sideline and spotted Stegeman moving into a dangerous spot in the middle of the penalty area.
The two connected on the cross with Stegeman winning the ball in the air and driving a header home for the deciding goal in QND's 2-1 victory.
"Right there, it's just a flick," Stegeman said. "Anywhere you put it on the goal, it's hard for the keeper to touch it from that range."
Although the Blue Devils were able to create several chances in the final 11 minutes -- a flick by Andrew Vandermaiden off a deflected restart that popped over the crossbar with 4:10 to play was the most dangerous -- they couldn't score the equalizer needed to avoid their first loss.
QHS had opened the season with six consecutive victories.
"It's just going to push us to play harder and fight harder," QHS senior defender Nolan Nuttelman said. "In reality, we knew it was going to come. We were just trying to prevent it by playing as hard as we could, but this is what will push us to realize we have to go even harder."
They will do so without senior center back Grant Higgins in the interim.
Higgins, an all-sectional defender a year ago, sprained his right ankle less than 10 minutes into the game and did not return. He'll be listed as day-to-day with the Blue Devils scheduled to face Jefferson City at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Flinn Stadium.
The Blue Devils already were without senior forward Robby Phillips, who suffered a knee injury Tuesday against United Township and is sidelined indefinitely.
Despite those injuries, QHS coach Ron Bridal won't allow the first loss to turn into a pity party.
"We expect them to react with the same heart they've shown when we've been down in other games," Bridal said. "It can be humbling, but it also challenges them to see what they're made of. They've shown they can respond to being challenged."
So have the Raiders.
QND (6-2) put together a string of scoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes, including earning a penalty kick when Colby Kapp was tackled in the box less than 12 minutes into the game. QHS goalkeeper Jake Happel smothered Kapp's penalty kick as the Blue Devils kept the game scoreless for the first 29 minutes.
In the 30th minute, QHS's Jaeden Smith was pushed from behind in the box and awarded a PK. He buried it into the left side of the goal for a 1-0 lead, but it did little to discourage the Raiders.
"We know when something doesn't happen, like a missed PK or a missed wide-open shot, you're going to get another chance," Stegeman said.
Less than two minutes after Smith's PK, the Raiders converted their next chance.
On a restart from the left wing, Murphy curled a shot that ricocheted off the inside of the far post and into the net for the tying goal.
"For him, he's got the capabilities of hitting something like that from a lot of different spots," QND coach Greg Reis said.
He proved that in the second half, clanging a restart from midfield off the crossbar and then setting up Stegeman's goal.
"We fought our way back, which showed a lot of character on our part," Murphy said. "The guys came together, pulled it back and we won. That's awesome."
Quincy Notre Dame 2, Quincy High School 1
7 Shots 14
5 Saves 1
0 Corners 11
13 Fouls 13
0 Offsides 0
QHS 1 0--1
QND 1 1--2
QHS--Jaeden Smith (penalty kick), 29:00
QND--Mitchell Murphy (restart), 31:00
QND--Peyton Stegeman (Murphy), 62:00