Northern Illinois men's soccer coach Eric Luzzi wanted to make an impact in his first season as the head coach.
This was almost a perfect way to do exactly that.
The Huskies went on the road to play No. 1 North Carolina on Friday night at the UNC Nike Invitational in Chapel Hill N.C. and took the lead before having to settle for a 1-1 tie.
"We're past the point where we should be intimidated by anything," Luzzi said. "The leadership here has grown to be pretty strong."
Sophomore defender Tim King scored in the 21st minute after a midfield free kick from freshman Rocco Taglia, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
"Rocco just found him," Luzzi said.
NIU (0-1-1) would hold that lead for the next 40 minutes, before the top-ranked Tar Heels (1-0-1) scored off a corner kick.
The Huskies have now beaten or tied a top-10 team in each of the past three seasons. NIU beat No. 9 Northwestern, 2-1, in 2007 and upset No. 2 Southern Methodist 1-0 last year.
Luzzi said his team can learn from what happened after defeating SMU in a tournament setting last season, when the Huskies lost the next game to Tulsa. The Huskies play Sunday against UNC-Greensboro, a Sweet-16 team from last season.
"That Tulsa game stung last year," Luzzi said. "We've got to make sure we continue to play our game. If we don't play well against Greensboro, it kind of takes away from tonight."