Spike Malangone '09 & Russ Follansbee '09 Add USILA All-America Status to Their 2009 Resumes

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After receiving first-team all-NESCAC honors for the third time in their careers, Spike Malangone '09 (#1, main photo) and Russ Follansbee '09 (#15, photo insert lower right) were chosen as USILA Division III All-Americans for the third consecutive year as well as part of the North squad for the annual USILA North-South Division III senior all-star game, which was played at Harvard Stadium Fri., May 22. In addition, Malangone earned the William C. Stiles Memorial Award as the top defensive player in Division III. It is the first time a Wesleyan player has earned a national position player of the year award from the USILA. Malangone and Follansbee also were named academic All-Americans by the USILA. Only 52 players from all three NCAA divisions earned that distinction.

Both Malangone and Follansbee moved up the ladder from their previous USILA All-America position. Malangone was a second-team All-American in both 2008 and 2007 while Follansbee was honorable-mention in 2008 and 2007. In 2009, Malangone joined the elite as a first-team choice. Follansbee was picked for the third team. Malangone is Wesleyan's initial Division III first-team lacrosse All-American. In 1970, before the establishment of Division III, Wesleyan's Doug Maynard was a Little All-America first-team selection by the USILA.

Wesleyan had an outstanding 2009 campaign, which including a first-ever NESCAC Championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. The season came to a close in an NCAA tournament quarter-final at home Wed., May 13. Hoping to make it three straight over Middlebury during the 2009 season, Wesleyan got off to a good start in its quarter-final matchup with the Panthers. Jumping out to a 3-0 edge after just 7:28 of the opening period, the Wesleyan offense failed to click for nearly 20 minutes as the Panthers scored six in a row and went on to capture a 13-5 victory. As a result, Wesleyan concluded another banner year with a 15-4 record, having made its fourth NCAA appearance in the last five years and posting its 10th consecutive winning campaign.

Wesleyan's top four scorers all got into the act in the opening half of the first quarter as the Cardinals' top-scoring middie, Lonny Blumenthal '10 (25 goals and nine assists), put Wesleyan ahead 1-0. Then overall top point-getter Follansbee scored off an assist by Jason Ben-Eliyahu '09 before Ben-Eliyahu set up Jon Killeen '10 to make it 3-0. Follansbee went on to add a fourth-period goal to give him a team-leading 71 points this season. It also was the 200th point of his career as he ranks fifth all-time at Wesleyan. Ben-Eliyahu's two assists in the game upped his seasonal figure to 46 points (24-22-46), placing him seventh all-time in scoring with 165 points.

A Middlebury run of six consecutive goals between the 7:03 mark of the first period and the 3:37 mark of the second stanza gave the visitors a 6-3 advantage. John Froats '12 (#6, photo insert lower left), the NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2009, stopped the Panther run to make it 6-4 at halftime. But Middlebury netted the only two goals of the third period for an 8-4 lead and scored five of six in the final frame for the 13-5 final. Middlebury went on to play Cortland in an NCAA semi-final, losing 16-8.

Wesleyan got a good effort from Mike Borrero '09 in the net as he posted 13 saves in his final contest as a two-year starter.

Malangone led the Cardinals with five ground balls against Middlebury and finished the year with 78 to rank second on the squad behind Gabe Kelley '11, who had 81.

Follansbee, Malangone, Froats and Blumenthal all garnered attention from the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (NEILA) in 2009, with Follansbee and Malangone on the first team and Froats and Blumenthal on the second team. Head Coach John Raba was named NEILA Division III Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his 13 seasons at the helm.

(all photos courtesy of Tony Pratt P'10)