WINSTON-SALEM - It couldn't have happened at a worse time for Caleb Norkus.
Just three days before his North Carolina soccer team would begin play in the ACC tournament, Norkus sprained his left ankle while vying for a head ball in practice.
"I just went up for a head ball, and I came down and my ankle rolled," Norkus said. "I couldn't walk on it Tuesday when I did it."
Despite the injury, no one really considered the sprain serious enough to keep Norkus from playing against Wake Forest on Friday.
But when the match started in the chilly night air, Norkus was keeping warm on the bench while sophomore Mike Gell was on the Spry Stadium field.
UNC coach Elmar Bolowich wanted to rest Norkus and not risk further damage to the ankle, especially against a team the Tar Heels had beaten 4-1 on Oct. 28.
The Demon Deacons, however, didn't afford UNC the luxury of resting their senior forward. Although the Tar Heels peppered Deacon goalkeeper William Hesmer with 15 first-half shots, they went into halftime deadlocked in a scoreless tie.
The score was enough to persuade Bolowich to divert from his earlier plan.
"We came into the locker room at halftime, and I didn't know if I was going to get a chance to play," Norkus said. "Coach wrote my name up on the board, and I was like `Yes!' and I went and got my ankle taped up again.