In the first minute of the second half, Connecticut retaliated and who should score but Morrone's boy Billy, who picked up a cross from the right from Graziano Cornolo and put the ball home from eight yards.
Now the game was open again, and the initiative had passed to the Huskies. Unlimited substitution is allowed by the NCAA, and Morrone is a master at it. While A&M substituted not a single player, a stream of Huskies went on and off the field. Said Morrone: "We had to play as a unit, build up and substitute. There was no possible way we could have matched them man for man for 90 minutes."
And the weakness of the Bulldogs manifested itself plainly as the game went on. There were 10 strikers, yes, but no one who could finish off attacking movements. Small, fascinating wars between pairs of players developed, notably one between A&M Striker Nathanial Ogedegbe and Husky Defender Ed Lynch, who played more than 50 minutes. But there was no breakthrough from either side and eventually came overtime, which A&M had experienced in all four previous playoff games.
Less than five minutes into the first sudden-death period, a very large man in a blue blazer was racing across the field, and the Huskies were the 1981 NCAA soccer champions. "I thought, 'God, shall I go out or not?' " Morrone said later. His players were jubilantly piling on each other on the turf near the A&M goalmouth. Morrone did go, of course, and even then he was busy thinking things through. "I went in at an angle," he said. "I tried to glide in so as not to hurt anyone."
The thought of the bulky Morrone gliding is somewhat hilarious, but there was only triumph in the air. What had happened was that the Huskies' Pedro DeBrito had gotten the ball on the right, chipped it to the left of the box to Jim Lyman, who crossed to Jim D'Orsaneo, who headed the ball home.
"I knew Jim would go up for the ball," Morrone said. "I knew their back four were tired, and I thought I saw their goalie hesitate. But for a second I couldn't tell if the ball was going into the corner or not. Then I was running. Heck, I never ran as fast in my life."
And it wouldn't have been Morrone had he not been sentimental for a moment. "It's snowing in New England now," he said, "but there'll be a lot of warm hearts for us there."
But discipline wasn't forgotten in the excitement. "We're catching an overnight plane," he said. "We have to be in classes by 11 a.m."
And there was a moment for pride, too. "We assembled a group of players from the Northeast," he said, "and we won. This will give hope to American players all over the country. We can compete!"
Even against white handkerchiefs.