Both teams returned only two starters from a year ago, and the Lady Hornets' veterans had the edge in those spots. After sophomore Sydnie Whiteside blanked Marshall sophomore Molly Evans, 10-0, at No. 1 singles, sophomore Ali Stephens pulled out a 10-8 decision against senior Stephanie Markes at No. 2.
However, the deeper into the order the clubs went, the easier it got for the Lady Owls. Freshman Taylor Crawford won by a 10-2 margin at No. 3, while juniors Payton Beeler and Amanda Harrelson blanked their foes in the four and five slots, 10-0, and junior Idalia Aguilar rolled to a 10-1 victory at No. 6.
The top two for both teams paired up for doubles, again the Lady Hornets (3-2) prevailing -- but barely, Whiteside and Stephens taken into a tiebreaker at No. 1 by Evans and Markes before winning, 11-10 (7-3).
Marshall took the next two doubles tilts behind the duos of Crawford-Beeler (10-3) and Harrelson-Aguilar (10-2).
"After playing four matches, I feel good about the big moves they have made," head coach Susan Carney said about her Lady Owls (4-0). "They are playing well, but we have the capability of being so much stronger."
Marshall will be at home next week for back-to-back matches against Richmond on Monday and NCMC rival Moberly on Tuesday, when the Lady Owls will hold their annual fundraising barbecue.
OAK GROVE -- The Marshall boys' soccer team gave up back-to-back goals during the final two minutes of the first half Thursday, Oak Grove holding on for a 2-1 non-conference home win.
Owls head coach Justin VanWinkle described it as a "physical game," as evidenced by a combined seven shots on goal by the two clubs, and one in which "mental mistakes proved costly."
The Panthers (2-0) scored on an 18-yard drive by senior Austin Marshall in the 38th minute, followed a minute later by junior Brad Ray's free kick into the net.
Marshall cut the margin in half 15 minutes into the second period, when sophomore Isai Trujillo connected for his third goal of the season.
The Owls (1-2) will be at home to begin NCMC play Tuesday against Mexico.
The Marshall volleyball team put up a strong fight during the second game Thursday, but were beaten in their home opener by NCMC foe Fulton, 25-13, 28-26.
The Lady Owls scrambled on defense, with sophomore Olivia Haug coming up with 16 digs and senior Rachel Brown with 10.
Senior Rachelle Miller had 12 kills and 10 saves to the lead the Lady Hornets (2-0, 1-0 NCMC), with senior Melissa Hoerber providing 13 assists.
Junior Karson Heying and freshman Abbie Lemmons each knocked down six shots for Marshall, while sophomore Allie Lemmons served up a pair of aces.
The Lady Owls (0-2, 0-2) will be on the road Thursday at Mexico.
CREIGHTON -- Senior Ashley Hayworth stroked three doubles and scored two runs Thursday during Sherwood's 7-3 non-conference win over the visiting Marshall softball team.
Senior Jessica Johnson gave the Lady Owls a two-run lead with a two-out single in the top of the third inning, but the game was even after the home half of the frame when senior Amanda Phelps and junior Savannah Schurmann singled in runs.
Singles by junior Hannah Pace and sophomores Mackenzie Cochran and Hayley Campbell produced a Marshall run in the fourth, but once more the Lady Marksmen (1-2) tied it during their turn.
The game turned on Sherwood's four-run fifth, freshman Sophie Harvey smashing a two-run double, followed by RBI singles from Schurmann and senior Kristin Gibbs.
The Lady Owls (1-7) loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but didn't score, and stranded two runners in the seventh.
Marshall will head to Hannibal for an NCMC showdown Saturday.