Penn State defensive coach Ryan Defibaugh knew how he wanted his defense to control No. 1 Akron on Wednesday night.
"As a team defending outlook, we think our offense will be our best defense," said Defibaugh on Monday. "We're looking to get after Akron and attack them -- make them defend us some."
The strategy didn't work out for the Nittany Lions (9-5-2, 2-1-1 Big Ten) as they suffered a 3-0 loss at Akron (16-0-0) on Wednesday.
The Lion gameplan was challenged in the first five minutes of play when the Zips took a 1-0 lead and tallied three shots with two on goal.
About midway through the first half, the Zips controlled the shot total, 8-2. It took 15 minutes for the Lions to tally their first shot from the foot of Frank Costigliola. Although the Lions lessened the margin in that category by the end of the game, 16-11, they couldn't gain ground in the goal department.
Penn State defender Andres Casais said the Lions knew Akron's gameplan, but the Zips two-touch, fast-moving soccer was still difficult to stop.
"They took advantage of every inch we gave them," Casais said. "They anticipated the play three plays before."
In the midst of what Casais said was a raucous crowd, the first tally came off a fifth minute Teal Bunbury 12-yard shot from the middle of the field and a Kofi Sarkodie cross. Bunbury tallied his second goal of the game in the 24th minute from 30 yards, which developed off an Anthony Ampaipitakwong throw-in. Bunbury leads Akron with 14 goals this season.
Darlington Nagbe netted his 8th goal of the season from eight yards in the 62nd minute to give the Zips a 3-0 lead. Ben Zemanski provided the assist.
On Monday, Defibaugh said Akron's opponents this season played defensively instead of aggressively and allowed the Zips easy possession of the ball.
"They're a great team," said Lion defenseman Andy Parr on Monday. "We're going to try to stay as organized as possible so we don't get isolated anywhere on the field."
Although the Lions aggressive gameplan didn't pay off, the Akron offense holds one of the most prolific offenses in the country. The Zips outscored Big Ten teams Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan 9-1 before facing Penn State on Wednesday.
Corey Hertzog led the Lions with five shots Wednesday with two on goal, and senior forward Jason Yeisley also tallied two shots on goal.
The last Lion win against the Zips was a 4-0 home victory in 2004. Penn State hasn't won in Akron since 1998 in a 1-0 victory. With the loss, Penn State is 2-4-0 on the road and remain 6-0-2 at Jeffrey Field.