There is no questioning that Angelica Paguio is shy. She is a lady of few words and admits she doesn’t talk a lot.
There is also no denying that she is one heck of a volleyball player. But her all-around talent often goes unnoticed because of her backseat-type personality.
“I don’t think the other athletes would even know that (she is an all-around player),” Kodiak coach Amy Willis said.
Paguio might be bashful, but her play on the court speaks for itself, rather it be her hovering above the net for a kill attempt or her diving on the floor for a dig, she does it all.
The 5-foot-4 outside hitter saw a sprinkling of varsity action last year as a swing player, but this was supposed to be her breakout year on the big stage. Because of the pandemic, she didn’t get that moment.
“I’m super sad that she doesn’t get a season to be seen,” Willis said. “Last year, she was a junior behind a bunch of seniors.”
Paguio started her athletic career as a fifth-grade badminton player in the Philippines. Although she liked badminton, she didn’t like the coach and turned to volleyball two years later.
In the Philippines, volleyball in the school system is played outside on grass and asphalt. Matches are played in all weather elements, including wind and rain.
“When you play here, it is a totally different world,” said Kodiak C squad coach Donn Sofranes, who played in the Philippines before moving to the island.
Paguio completed seventh and eighth grade in the Philippines and repeated those grades again when she arrived in Kodiak.
With a limited English skill set, she said it was a challenge adjusting to her new environment. After five years of being in the America, her English has improved.
“When she joined the team as a freshman, we did not understand how much she didn’t understand,” Willis said. “She learned by watching, which is a lot of volleyball — you have to read what is happening and just do it. She is just natural and really just a strong athlete.”
Being on the C team and having Sofranes as a coach softened the landing for Paguio. The two communicated in Tagalog. He remembered being impressed with her play at Kodiak Middle School.
“She is already good. How am I going to make her better?” he said. “She just picked it up so quick and knew what to do.”
Paguio can do it all on the court, but her favorite aspect of the game is defense — blocking at the net and receiving “really hard hits,” she said.
During a match against the community team this season, Paguio blocked Zennia Chia, a 2017 Kodiak High school graduate and former community college player. Chia, also from the Philippines, is six inches taller than Paguio.
Paguio, the middle child of three, showed emotion following the block.
“She is so humble about what she is doing that she doesn’t really celebrate what she is doing well,” Willis said. “We got real excited when she was excited because that is not something we see a whole lot.”