Anjelica Doroen will leave a lasting legacy at .
Doroen, a co-captain this year, has started four straight seasons on the Mustangs’ varsity volleyball team. As the team’s setter, she’s racked up 254 assists while playing a key role in the offense, helping lead Monterey Trail to a 9-4 start in non-conference play.
But after Doroen graduates, she will return to her roots.
The volleyball standout was born in Hawaii and is an expert hula dancer. Next year, Doroen hopes to move back to the islands and study at the University of Hawaii.
While hula dancing has been a cultural constant in Doroen’s life since she was a young girl, her coach says it's not just on stage that the senior’s sunny personality shines through.
“She’s the one that’s always going to have a smile on her face when the score is 28-28, and she doesn’t add any stress on the court,” said Scott Ellison, the girls’ volleyball coach at Monterey Trail.
Doroen’s calm and steady leadership has defined her role, but she’s also faced some adversity. At 5’7”, the senior is considered small for a setter, a position that requires plenty of blocked shots and is often dominated by taller athletes. Her team has also faced challenges; Ellison said that many Monterey Trail student athletes come from neighborhoods hit hard during the recession and the ongoing foreclosure crisis.
But Doroen relishes her role as underdog and is proud of her career with the Mustangs. It’s part of why she’s this week's Elk Grove Athlete of the Week. Recently, Elk Grove Patch caught up with Doroen and asked about her Hawaiian cultural background, defying expectations on the volleyball court and whether she’s stronger than football players.
What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind at Monterey Trail—both the school and the volleyball team?
I like to think what I leave behind is a sense of pride—a sense of, this is the team you’re playing for, so take it, love it, appreciate it, treat it as your family.
What’s been your proudest achievement on the team over the past four years?
For myself, personally, it’s being chosen as our captain. It’s heartwarming to me, because it shows that my team—my family—has chosen me to lead them, and they trust me to lead them.
Many of the players on the Monterey Trail volleyball squad come from neighborhoods facing hard times because of the recession. Have the Mustangs embraced that underdog role this year when facing off against teams from wealthier areas?
Playing as the underdog is kind of nice, because when we come out in the first game and have a good game, the other team goes back and says, ‘What just happened?' It’s kind of nice to have the sense of, '[Our team] is coming at you and you just don’t know it yet.'
Speaking of underdogs…you’re 5’7” and as a setter, you play a position that’s usually taken by taller athletes. Even though you’re a statistical leader on the team and a captain, does it ever feel that people underestimate you?
For high school athletes, for my position, I’m considered average. But for higher teams and bigger schools, especially colleges, especially Division I schools, I’m considered a short player. I do jump fairly well for my height and when other teams think they can hit over me, it’s kind of fun because then I can block them.
On the other hand, legend has it that you’re pretty strong—even stronger than some football players on campus. Fact or fiction?
[Laughs] I like to play rough; I was that tomboy girl growing up. I am strong—I don’t know if that’s true that I’m stronger than the football players. It’s probably not, but it’s fun to joke around because I’m one of the stronger girls on our team, so it’s fun to joke around with the guys, like, “I can lift more than you; gotta step it up!”
Outside of volleyball, you’re also an expert hula dancer. How did you get into hula dancing?
It actually started with my mom, because my mom and dad both danced when they were born and raised in Hawaii. My mom actually had me start dancing when I was three. Hula, for me, after all these years of dancing, is a calming sense. It’s very relaxing to me and it’s always been a constant. If I have something going on, I know that if hula is there, I’ll just be able to relax about it.
Do you have any other hobbies outside of hula dancing and volleyball?
I don’t really have very much. Volleyball does take up a lot of my time. Most people don’t realize that volleyball is a year-round sport. It’s one of those things where if you get out of it for a little while, you’re going to feel like you’re months behind everyone else.
What are your plans for next year after you graduate?
I’m planning on moving to Hawaii and going to the University of Hawaii. Most of my family actually lives there; all of my mom’s side lives there. I’ve always loved Hawaii and what the University of Hawaii has to offer me is what I want to go into: kinesiology, marine biology or Hawaiian studies.