Feb. 7, 2011
The following feature appears in the Patriot League's 2011 Women in Sports magazine, produced in conjunction with the 25th celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which was held Feb. 2. All eight features will be posted on PatriotLeague.org throughout the month of February.
By Jimmy Johnson
Patriot League Coordinator of Multimedia/Media Relations
When Navy graduate Shelly Moeller was a child, the closest body of water was more than four hours away — and it was Lake Erie.
If she wanted to see the sun rise over the Atlantic, it was at least a 10-hour drive from her hometown of Milford, Ohio; and of course, if she wanted to see it set in the Pacific, like she can now at Pearl Harbor, she would have needed a plane to get there.
Living about a half-hour east of Cincinnati, the ocean wasn’t the easiest place to go for Moeller, so one has to wonder how someone from Ohio winds up majoring in oceanography at the United States Naval Academy.
“I actually wanted to be a dentist,” she said from her base at Pearl Harbor.
But the Naval Academy came calling for Moeller’s athletic skills. She was a standout in three sports — soccer, basketball and track — at the Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, and after attending the Peddie School in New Jersey for a year, she moved on to Annapolis where she became a soccer star.
As a defender, she helped the Mids win two straight Patriot League titles starting in 2006, and Navy nearly made it three straight in 2008. In all three tournaments, the Mids allowed just one goal and it was Army’s double-overtime winner in the 2008 title game.
The defensive performance in the playoffs was a microcosm of what Moeller brought to the team in her four years at Navy.
Twice named the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Year, Moeller started in 90 consecutive games, helping Navy post a 0.68 goals-against average. The Mids’ top defensive season came her freshman year when she started in all 24 games, anchoring a back-third that allowed just nine goals (0.37 GAA). She was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Patriot League and was a First-Team All-Patriot League selection with her career-best eight goals and three assists.
She also was the Patriot League Tournament MVP as the Mids blanked Colgate 1-0 to win the program’s second League title.
Moeller added All-League honors to her resume in each of the next three years, as well as the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.
She joined the lacrosse team her senior year and was a part of the program’s first Patriot League title.
Still, not one of the aforementioned awards can beat the one she cherishes most.
“One of the coolest awards for me is when you’re on the Patriot League honor roll,” she said. “Academics were always first in the Patriot League and I’m glad that I was part of this league.”
Just as it was a given that Moeller would be in the starting lineup on gameday, the same could have been said about the honor roll. She was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll every year, and added a 2008 NSCAA Scholar All-East Region Second Team selection.
“I loved all my classes,” she said. “And in my sophomore year, I was selected to move into the honors program. So it was great to have a close group of about 10 students, and at any time you needed help, the teachers were there for us. You get a lot of face-time with the teachers at Navy. They’re very willing to help out.”
That was especially helpful for Moeller who by choosing Navy had to change her career path. She was interested in dentistry, but because Navy did not have that curriculum, she moved on to a different science — a field that she knew she wanted to study in no matter what.
With chemistry and physics scratched off her list, she stumbled upon oceanography and decided to go with it.
Now, four years later, she’s aboard the U.S.S. Chafee, serving as an electrical engineer and the legal officer. She handles anything electrical and counsels any officer who has legal issues, pointing them in the right direction.
Being on board a naval ship is certainly different than her four years at the Academy, but Moeller has adjusted well.
“I was actually more prepared than I thought I would be,” she said. “Playing two sports, I missed out on several opportunities to go out on ships and practice, but I was really prepared thanks to my leadership classes.”
Moeller will serve a five-year term and then begin post-graduate studies in oceanography and meteorology at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.