PHILADELPHIA Senior Chris Kovalcik, junior Chris Wynn and sophomore Andrew Samson were each selected to the All-Ivy First Team as released by the Ivy League office Monday night. One of the most prestigious honors that an Ivy League football player can be given, eight other University of Pennsylvania football players were on the list as either second team or honorable mention honorees. The All-Ivy team is selected by the league’s coaches.
Senior Josh Koontz and sophomore Michael DiMaggio were second-team All-Ivy offense, while seniors Jay Colabella and Joe Rost and juniors Joe Goniprow and Jake Lewko were named to the second-team defense. Seniors Guillermo Ruffolo and Britton Ertman were All-Ivy honorable mention on defense.
Kovalcik, for the second straight season, was an anchor on the offensive line. The Westwood, Mass., native was a leader for one of the most exciting and productive offenses during the stretch run of the Ivy League season. The right tackle started all 10 games for the Quakers who outscored the top two offenses in the Ivy League, 44-30 in the final two weeks of the season and outgained them by over 200 yards.
With the aid of the Kovalcik and the Penn offense, Samson, the Quakers’ placekicker, capitalized with a league-leading and school-record setting 16 field goals. Only two other kickers in the country averaged more field goals than Samson. The Ivy League’s top scoring kicker in 2008, the only sophomore on the first-team offense has yet to miss an extra-point in his two-year career and currently holds an active Penn record of 49-straight made extra points.
Wynn was a star on two fronts for Penn. He led the Ivy League for much of the season in punt return and kick return average, including his kick return for a touchdown against Georgetown on Oct. 11. He earned Special Teams Player of the Week in the Ivy League for his efforts that week.
Most notably though, Wynn served as the Quakers’ shut-down corner for a defense that was tops in the Ivy League in pass defense and total defense. The Flemington, N.J., native led the league in passes defended and interceptions as he became the only Quaker in Ancient Eight history to have back-to-back seasons with at least five interceptions.
Koontz finished his career as the starting tight end in every game for the Quakers in 2008. He had a catch in every game this seasonand in a stretch of 16 straight gameswith the exception of Penn’s final game in which they only threw the ball 12 times. The Mechanicsburg, Pa., native was second amongst tight ends in the Ivy League with 14 catches and 136 yards.
DiMaggio was the go-to running back for Penn in the season’s final weeks. He finished with two 100-yard outings in 2008 for a team-high 585 yardsthird-best among the Ivies. He also finished with a team-high four rushing touchdowns.
Linebackers Colabella and Lewko and defensive lineman Goniprow, Rost and Ruffolo were a big reason why Penn finished ninth in the nation against the run and were sixth-best defense overall in the FCS. Colabella’s 51 tackles were second on the team to Lewko’s 61. Goniprow led the team with 10 tackles for loss, while Ruffolo and Rost each finished the season with career-highs in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and pass breakups.
Ertman, a defensive back who was second on the team with seven tackles for loss, was also second with 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, five pass breakups and had a team-leading two fumble recoveries.
Five of these honorees are among the 15 starters that will return for the 2009 season, while Kovalcik, Ruffolo, Koontz, Colabella, Rost and Ertman leave the program with its best record since walking on to the West Philadelphia campus four years ago.