"I think that they played well," remarked Lady Owls head coach Paula Brown. "They were excited, they were loose, we executed well and it's always a good night when we can play and have fun."
The good times began immediately for Marshall, junior Analee Tucker knocking down a shot to open the first set and then serving up nine straight points -- getting two kills from junior Karson Heying and allowing Lady Spartan mistakes to do the rest of the damage.
"Analee has a great jump serve getting us off to the start," Brown said. "It picked up our intensity and enthusiasm. It just kind of kicked off the night the right way."
The Lady Owls weren't flawless, giving up five of the next seven points on two faults, two attack errors and an ace by junior Andrea Woods. Marshall rallied with six points in a row, including a spike by freshman Abbie Lemmons and senior Rachel Brown's ace.
After Richmond closed to within 21-13, the Lady Owls finished out the game with junior Kendra Castle's kill and three points served by sophomore Olivia Haug.
The second frame began more slowly for Marshall, crawling out to a 5-3 lead, but that was followed by an 11-1 run. Sophomore Morgan Thompson had three serves which the Lady Spartans couldn't handle and Brown added two more, but five points were scored by Thompson setting for Lemmons.
"It was a good combination," Brown said. "We have multiple strong headers and we were able to spread the love around."
Junior Jenny Simpson's tip began a three-point Richmond surge, but the Lady Owls answered with an 8-1 stretch. Lemmons blocked for a score, Heying put down another shot, Tucker spiked and senior Jashawna Terry tipped one over.
The Lady Spartans (0-24) held off elimination for five match points, Simpson with a pair of aces before faulting to end the contest.
"They really worked well and had that team attitude," Brown asserted. Still, with 20 of Richmond's 24 points unearned, including seven faults in 42 serves, "we have to cut out those mental errors."
Marshall got eight kills from Lemmons and five from Heying, with Thompson and Terry each providing seven assists. Thompson had three aces and Tucker added two, while also leading the team with seven digs.
The third-seeded Lady Owls (12-16-3) head into Wednesday's semifinal round against No. 2 Odessa.
"We're going to have to keep up that high intensity," Brown said. "A main component is going to be a higher level of play."