Ian Black has been waiting for this chance.
The redshirt sophomore forward has just one point to his record through three years in an IU uniform. He appeared in just three games his freshman year, redshirted two years ago and tallied one assist against Penn State last season.
But this team is different. Gone are the likes of Justin Rennicks and Griffin Dorsey who started in roles similar to Black at the forward and midfield position.
Black is now one of the main offensive weapons for an IU team that has to replace 10 of 11 starters from a College Cup team that spent a majority of the season as the No. 2 team in the nation.
GOAL INDIANA | After a stalemate throughout the first half, Austin Panchot finds the back of the net off a cross from Ian Black.
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) September 30, 2018
He’s made the most of it during this spring season, netting both goals in IU’s spring break trip to Mexico in March.
“It feels good to finally be able to be that voice on the field because I’ve been playing more now,” Black said. “Being able to get on the score sheet does a lot for my confidence because I know I’ve been playing really well this spring.”
Although the spring season becomes a mere afterthought once the summer heat hits and IU picks things back up for Fall practice, it can serve as a learning curve for young teams.
The trip to Mexico was the first true test for this IU team. The travel, the altitude and the environment were all different than what players were used to. For Black, the trip served as a confidence booster.
With those two goals, both game winners, Black found his stride even in unusual conditions.
.@IndianaMSOC‘s second and final match and Mexico City took on a similar storyline to its first: an Ian Black goal and a clean sheet.@michrami_ writes from Mexico City. #iums #IUinMEX https://t.co/tF5u4d3lRL
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) March 16, 2019
“It’s huge. It’s everything. Even in training every day, if you’re not feeling yourself confident even with a little bit of swagger, it’s tough to score those goals,” Black said. “Confidence makes you that much better.”
Black has been waiting for this chance. Not only for him, but for some of his teammates who’ve waited behind professional talent the past couple years ago.
He mentions redshirt junior goalkeeper Sean Caulfield and redshirt freshman Joe Schmidt as two guys that have stepped up in leadership and productivity.
“It’s awesome,” Black said. “It’s really great to see everything come to fruition. It’s nice to see a lot of guys show what they can do.”
Black has three more matches this spring to bolster the team’s chemistry and his own confidence.
More than anything, he’s got three more matches this spring to prove he’s the next great goal scorer in a legacy filled program.