Junior goalkeeper Miranda Royds was named Patriot League Goalie of the Week twice in September after her performances in the net for the Lehigh women’s soccer team.
Royds — who is also a member of Lehigh’s track and field team, competing in mid-distance races and the steeplechase in the spring — said the awards serve as a positive reflection of her dedication to improving year round, but the team’s overall success is her ultimate priority.
“I am very grateful for getting some recognition with the weekly Patriot League awards, as it is a testament to the work put in at practice and in the off season,” Royds said. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about how the team is doing.”
This season, Royds has recorded more than 50 saves and four shutouts through 11 games. The two-sport athlete has also maintained an above 80 percent save percentage.
Sophomore defender Bridget Casey said Royds’ impressive campaign thus far comes as no surprise due to the leadership and competitive drive she incorporates into her daily life.
“(Royds) is a great leader and sets the tone not only at practice and games, but also in the locker room and outside the sport,” Casey said. “She brings high energy and a motivating presence to the team. Her passion and commitment toward the game inspires me to be better every day.”
Coach Eric Lambinus said Royds’ positive mindset was contagious to the rest of the team during the early adversity it faced this season.
“(Royds) is a really positive kid,” Lambinus said. “It is something that the players can rally around in those tough weeks, as she had a number of shutouts in a row and made a big save in each one of those games that inspired the team.”
Lambinus said Royds stands out beyond the soccer field. He said the consideration and empathy she shows for other people are remarkable. He said her affinity for caring deeply about others is immediately recognizable.
“She cares about the program, she cares about Lehigh, she cares about her teammates, and she goes out of her way to build those relationships not only with the girls in her class, but with everyone on the team,” he said.
Junior defender Mackenzie Anton agreed with Lambinus’ sentiment and said Royds’ ability to spark connections with others has been a major factor in developing the team’s chemistry. Those meaningful relationships translate on game day.
“On and off the field, (Royds) is one of the most loyal, reliable and hard working people I know,” Anton said. “It’s amazing to be able to play with her, but also to be one of her closest friends.”
But Royds’ athletic ability cannot be characterized merely by her talent as a soccer goalie. During last year’s season for Lehigh’s track and field team, Royds finished 11th in the indoor mile at the Patriot League Championship and sixth in the 3000m steeplechase at the Patriot League Outdoor Championships.
Royds said playing two Division I sports while balancing her academics as a bioengineer is no easy feat, but the coaching staff for each program she competes for has been there for her since the start.
“As all student athletes do, I have to be smart about my time and make sure that I prioritize things,” Royds said. “But it makes it all worth it as I am extremely grateful and blessed to get the opportunity to do both soccer and track, and have coaches that support me in them and work together to make it all happen.”
Lambinus said Lehigh is especially hungry for a Patriot League Championship after falling short to Boston University in the finals last season. He said the players are “licking at their chops.”
He said the team’s success is entirely dependent on the work the players put in throughout the next couple of weeks. Lehigh’s ability to prepare for tough opponents and ultimately, to execute at a high level on game day will make the difference, he said.
Lehigh defeated Patriot League opponent Boston University 1-0 for the first time in program history on Saturday. The Mountain Hawks will continue league play on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Ulrich Sports Complex against Holy Cross.