Lehigh senior goalkeeper Miranda Royds defends the goal. Royds has been a leader for this team during an unprecedented season. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Miranda Royds continues to show leadership on and off the field

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Miranda Royds, Lehigh women’s soccer senior goalkeeper, continues to be a standout, both on and off the field, offering her leadership in the face of much uncertainty.

Royds emerged as one of the Patriot League’s top goalkeepers last season, being named Patriot League goalkeeper of the week three times. She is also a member of the Lehigh track and field team, primarily running middle distance and the steeplechase.

While balancing her bioengineering curriculum as a dual-sport athlete is admirable in itself, Royds’ teammates reiterated that her unwavering positivity and team-first attitude are what make her a truly irreplaceable presence on women’s soccer.

Senior defender Ally Friedman recalled Royds’ incredible shutout performance when Lehigh defeated Boston University for the first time in program history in 2019.

“Miranda’s one-on-one save was a huge turning point in the game and it really gave us momentum going forward,” Friedman said. “Her saves in those big moments really reflect her ability to bring up the energy of the team,” 

Sophomore goalkeeper Celia Eitzel added, “Miranda (Royds) sets a great standard for working hard and pushing ourselves. As the team player that she is, she serves as a really good example of who I’d want to be off the field as well though.”

Royds said patience and optimism have been important virtues during her college career and both have proven especially critical this year.

“I can still remember what it felt like adjusting as a freshman and it reminds me to trust the process,” Royds said. “You change so much as a person in these four years so just having faith and bringing a positive attitude with you every day is really important.”

While the team faced a postponed season this fall, as well as the indefinite shutdown of Lehigh sports as of Sept. 29 due to a rise in positive COVID-19 cases, Royds continued to make the best of the situation. 

“Miranda (Royds) really stepped up as a leader this fall in terms of reminding us that there is purpose to our training, despite a canceled season,” Friedman said. “She is always that player to keep in communication with girls she might not be practicing with, helping to build that team chemistry off of the field so we have that cohesion once we do return to playing all together.”

While the fall was a time where the team had to train on their own, Royds was someone this team could look up to. Eitzel said Royds put others before herself during the fall and has remained dedicated to supporting her teammates throughout an unprecedented season.

Eitzel said Royds was always there, even when the team could not meet in person. It was tough having such inconsistent opportunities to play together this year, but Royds was always checking in with her teammates and making the best of the situation. 

Royds described the team’s goals as being tough, purposeful, and hardworking. Her teammates agreed that these are all qualities that Royds wholeheartedly embodies, all with the ultimate goal of winning a Patriot League Championship.

As Royds prepares for her final semester at Lehigh, she hopes for a safe return to playing alongside some of her best friends.

“I feel that, speaking on behalf of the team, we are still hungry to get back out there and compete,” Royds said. “I fell in love with soccer when I was like five years old so getting back out there on Ulrich before graduating would be awesome.”

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