A pitifully small crowd of 2,921 watched St. Louis run off to a 2-0 half-time lead. UCLA got one goal back and then the Billikens' freshman goalie, Rob Vallero, slipped while taking a free kick out of the penalty area, and UCLA's Velazquez kicked the ball into an unguarded net. The game went into a second overtime and St. Louis was lucky to win. The Bruins' Joe Pronk was caught using his hands in the penalty area, and Billiken Bruce Hudson, a member of the U.S. Olympic team, booted in the penalty kick.
It was drizzly and just as cold Saturday afternoon for the finals, which drew only 3,802 hardy souls. Before the match a special truck cruised back and forth over the artificial turf sucking up gallons of water and then spewing it out in Busch Stadium's remote corners.
St. Louis passed beautifully in the first half, outrunning Howard and shielding the ball cleverly. Frustrated Howard players, getting to the center of action a little late, kept making contact with Billikens rather than the ball and drew the unusual total of 20 fouls. St. Louis was attacking Howard's goal constantly but still finished the half leading only 1-0, after Fullback Don Droege kicked the ball through a crowd past Howard Goalie Trevor Leiba. Taking proper advantage of all their thrusts, the Billikens might have been leading by as much as 4-0.
Howard played smarter in the second half, not trying to guard the Billikens tightly all over the field, but instead dropping back in a sort of zone defense, letting St. Louis have its way at midfield but clogging things up when the Howard goal was threatened. Midway through the half Ayomi Bamiro, a substitute from Nigeria, tied the score with a header, and so it remained to the end of regulation time.
For a while it seemed the teams, now playing under the lights, would challenge the NCAA record for overtimes—10. The first, second and third 15-minute periods went by with some close calls but no cigar. One Howard shot hit the crossbar, another hit the left goalpost. Finally, shortly after the start of the fourth overtime, Howard's Richard Davy worked his way in close to the St. Louis goal on the left side, crossed the ball toward the goalmouth and Striker Kenneth Ilodigwe of Nigeria kicked it in from only about four feet away. Howard had beaten St. Louis in its own backyard, and it was not likely that the NCAA would vacate the title this time.
"We can play this game," shouted one Howard player, and for at least a year no one could argue with him.