UTSA soccer battles to scoreless draw in double overtime against Houston


Abby Kassal plays through contact during the game against Houston on Wednesday. Kassal is currently second on the team in shots taken with 9 and is tied for most shots on goal with 5.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

UTSA soccer returned to action following back-to-back postponements due to the severe winter weather experienced last week to take on the University of Houston. Initially scheduled for Feb. 18, UTSA managed to reschedule the game to Feb. 24. What followed was a close and grinding contest in which neither side was able to gain much of an edge over the other, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw after heading to double overtime. 

Both teams put shots on net early, with UTSA’s Abby Kassal registering the team’s best shot at putting up a goal within 45 seconds of the game kicking off when she was played in with a beautiful ball from Sarina Russ. Russ’ ball set up Kassal right in front of the goal, but her right footed effort was saved at near point-blank range by Houston keeper Salma Ghazal. A misplayed ball by the Houston defense in the 25th minute allowed Kassal to attempt a long-distance strike from outside the box, but her effort was again denied by Ghazal, who punched it away from the net. The first half would finish with UTSA narrowly leading in shots four to three. 

The second half saw the well run dry for UTSA in scoring chances as Houston began to exert more and more control over the game. Their only shot of the half came in the 63rd minute, but it was another quality chance as a feed into the box setup Mackenzie Kaufhold with a quality chance on net, but a Houston defender made a fantastic play to get a foot on Kaufhold’s shot and divert it away from goal. A 72nd-minute set-piece play from Houston nearly turned into a disaster for UTSA as a looping ball into the box skipped past multiple players and nearly found the back of the net, but a diving UTSA keeper Jil Schneider knocked the ball away from the goal and then handled the follow-up shot cleanly to preserve the 0-0 score. UTSA had one more chance in the 88th minute to come away with the win on a corner kick, but the lob pass into the box was easily headed away by a Houston defender, sending the two teams to overtime. 

The first overtime saw UTSA dominate for the majority of the duration, with Ellis Patterson unleashing a looping chip shot in the 94th minute that appeared to be destined for the back of the net, but Ghazal managed to just catch up to the ball and punch it over the top of the goal. Neither team managed to get much going in the second overtime, with Houston registering the lone shot, but Mia Brascia’s effort was high over the bar, and that was the end of the scoring chances ending the game in a hard-fought 0-0 draw. 

 The result is one UTSA did not want or likely deserve as despite being outshot by Houston eight to seven, the quality of the ‘Runners’ chances were much better than Houston’s. UTSA put four shots on goal to Houston’s two. Kassal’s effort in the first 45 seconds of the game and Patterson’s attempt in the 94th minute both would’ve likely gone in most days, but Houston keeper Ghazal managed to make a pair of brilliant saves to keep the ‘Runners off the scoreboard. UTSA’s scoring drought now stands at 315 minutes, but given the chances they had in this game, their shots will likely start finding the back of the net before too much longer. 

UTSA soccer will remain at home to take on the Rice University Owls on Feb. 28, at 1:05 p.m. in their Conference USA opener.