Such was the case again Thursday, with the Owls getting an early advantage and making it hold up during a 1-0 home win to move into a first-place tie with Hannibal in the NCMC standings.
Sophomore Roberto Hernandez connected from outside the penalty box in the 20th minute of the first half, and Marshall's defense kept the pressure off senior goalkeeper Isaac Phillips -- who only needed to make one save to post his fifth shutout of the season.
The Owls held a 5-1 edge in shots on goal, with sophomore Isai Trujillo and junior Bryan Sandoval each getting off two attacks. Senior Bridger Pretz made four saves for the Spartans (4-9, 2-3 NCMC), who have lost six straight matches.
Marshall (7-5, 5-1) will play a league match at Mexico on Tuesday.
The Marshall volleyball team avenged a season-opening sweep at NCMC rival Kirksville with a 25-18, 11-25, 25-23 home win Thursday.
The Lady Owls stretched a 13-11 lead in the first game with six straight points, five on serves by sophomore Olivia Haug. Marshall trailed by two points heading into the late stages of the deciding set, but junior Analee Tucker notched a pair of aces to surge ahead, 22-20.
Kirksville tied the contest at 23-all, but the Lady Owls closed it out on their next serve.
Senior Molly McClanahan led the Lady Tigers (9-9, 3-4 NCMC) with nine kills and three blocks.
Junior Karson Heying knocked in nine shots and blocked three, freshman Abbie Lemmons had eight kills and Tucker recorded seven spikes, eight saves and four aces for Marshall.
The Lady Owls (8-11-2, 2-4) will be on the road Tuesday at Fulton.
The Marshall girls' tennis team tuned up for the NCMC Tournament during its final regular season home match Thursday, a 7-2 non-conference win over Hickman.
Both of the wins for the Lady Kewpies (2-10) were due to withdrawals at No. 1 singles and doubles. Otherwise, the Lady Owls swept.
Freshman Taylor Crawford (11-9); juniors Payton Beeler (10-6), Amanda Harrelson (10-6) and Idalia Aguilar (10-8); and senior Sam Huston (10-3) won in singles for Marshall. The doubles winners were duos of Crawford-Beeler (10-1) and Aguilar-Huston (10-2).
The Lady Owls (12-2) will attempt to defend their league title Saturday at Hannibal.
MOBERLY -- The Marshall closed out its third straight winless season in the NCMC with a 15-0 loss Thursday at Moberly.
Freshman Maddie Hager blanked the Lady Owls on two hits, back-to-back second-inning singles by senior Abby Crawford and Jessica Johnson, and struck out eight batters in four innings.
The Lady Spartans broke a scoreless tie with a 10-run explosion on six hits and four walks in the bottom of the third. Junior Abbey Price began the rally with a single and later stroked a two-run double, junior Allison Cooley had two hits and junior Emily Richards contributed a two-run single.
Moberly (7-13, 4-8 NCMC) polished off the shortened game with five unearned runs in the fourth.
Marshall (5-19, 0-12), which has lost 39 straight league games, will close out the regular season at home Saturday against Clinton.
COLUMBIA -- The Marshall girls' golf team ended a nine-day hiatus Thursday during a dual match at Columbia, dropping a 172-248 decision to Hickman.
Seniors Patricia DeCastro and Laura Rowe led the Lady Kewpies (1-1) by shooting 40 on the L.A. Nickell Golf Course.
The Lady Owls (1-4) were topped by junior Lindsey Sullivan at 53 and junior Kalie Cowart at 64. Junior Caitlin Crawford and freshman Margaret Miles and Sarah Bentley each came in at 66.
Marshall will compete Monday in the Class 1, District 5 Tournament at Moberly.