Penn State men's soccer vs. Michigan, Reedy

Midfielder Pierre Reedy (11) heads the ball during the Penn State men's soccer game against Michigan at Jeffrey Field on Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 in University Park, Pa.  Penn State defeated Michigan 2-1.

Penn State’s match against Akron was a kick in the mouth as it was totally dominated for the entirety of the match.

With a score of 2-1, the blue and white lost its winning streak as Akron’s potent offense was too much for the Nittany Lions to handle.

The beginning of the match was all Akron, having four corner kicks before the 15-minute mark.

The Zips took advantage of a foul by Penn State and quickly sent a shot past Penn State goalkeeper Kris Shakes off a perfect cross into the box finished by a header.

Not even five minutes later, Akron sent another shot past the Penn State keeper after a good play by the Akron offense as a give-and-go helped the team take a 2-0 lead.

In the entire first half, the Zips looked to be in control of the match not only in time-of-possession but in sheer dominance on all sides of the field as well.

Akron not only led the game 2-0, but was ahead of Penn State in every offensive stat on the score sheet.

Coming out of halftime, the Zips started just where they had left off putting up two quick shots to start the half.

Penn State cracked the scoreboard late in the game off a goal from Dax Hoffman, but it was too little too late for the Nittany Lions, as they fell 2-1.

Here are three takeaways from Penn State’s loss in Akron.

Slow start

Penn State has had some matches at the beginning of the season in which it wasn’t able to get its offense going until the second half.

Certain matches stand out as to when blue and white were held scoreless and fell into offensive lulls in the first half was against Northwestern and Penn.

Wednesday’s match against Akron not only reverted the team back to its previous play, but it did it with such force that it was the worst start the blue and white have had all season.

Notching more total shots, goals, shots on goal and corners, the Zips ran straight through not only the Penn State defense but the keeper as well.

Not only did the Nittany Lions get obliterated by Akron on the stat sheet, but they managed to put up goose eggs in not one but four of the main offensive categories — shots, shots on target, assists and goals.

Falling behind early

Akron was not only able to put one goal on Penn State in the first 15 minutes of the match, but two in the first 20 sending Penn State down early.

Penn State, in the early parts of this season, had consistently conceded early goals to opponents, and although that trend seemed to dissipate recently, the Nittany Lions fell back to their old ways.

Although Penn State was on a three-game winning streak before Wednesday’s match, earlier in the season, the blue and white made seemed to be following a pattern as it would start the matches off down early.

When playing Penn, the Quakers were able to stick a goal right between Penn State’s goal post just twelve minutes after the initial whistles blew.

In a game where Penn State found itself down a player early due to a red card, it didn’t help as West Virginia was able to put a goal up in the 33rd minute, hurling Penn State farther into a bad spot than it began in.

Poor timing

Before Akron, Penn State was on a three-game winning streak right at the time that it needed to be.

Taking down three Big Ten opponents, including then-No. 22 Rutgers is exactly what Penn State needed as it tries to make the push to get into the playoffs.

Wednesday’s match against Arkon sends the blue and white’s hopes of getting back to where it was last year farther into the gutter.

Not only does any sort of loss negatively impact a team’s chances of making it into the playoffs, but it could also impact both the morale and confidence of the coach and players.

The Nittany Lions lulls are coming at the worst of times as they face four straight Big Ten teams including No. 12 Maryland.

Coach Cook’s squad has to leave this match in the past if its hopes to get back to the Big Ten Tournament Championship are to become a reality.

MORE SOCCER COVERAGE

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.