What started as a chance encounter on a tropical beach, filled with exchanging pleasantries and chitchat, quickly turned into something much more meaningful.
After meeting each other two years ago on the Beach Bar volleyball pit in Tumon, Tatiana Sablan, Oksana Chernyshova and Pavel “Paul” Gubenko soon formed the Professional Volleyball Club Guam.
The PVCG, providing athletes the opportunity for immersion into the volleyball scene with camps, training and tournaments, recently celebrated its first anniversary.
"This past year alone, we’ve had 12 months of continuous work through 144 practices and 576 hours of practice," said Sablan, a member of the Guam Women’s National Volleyball Team. “We completed our first summer camp that was coached by a world champion volleyball player (Ivan Shorohov), and a player (Daria Burkina) named best setter in three countries.”
Sablan added that Shorohov and Burkina "assisted by our staff, ran a five-day camp that offered daily meals, camp shirts and 40 hours of volleyball instruction."
Recently, PVCG held a monthlong summer event with open-court play in support of the women's national team. Every Friday during the summer, anyone could join.
“This club offers the real opportunity to dream about playing volleyball as a professional,” Sablan said. “We offer the chance to reach out and secure that future for yourself.”
During its inaugural campaign, the organization provided training three days a week for volleyball enthusiasts with the desire to improve. The PVCG, starting its second year, is adding new features. To better serve the volleyball community, it has added two days of strength training.
According to information provided in a news release, this most benefits the older group, ages 14 and older.
"It has been very rewarding to see how the children have progressed,” said Chernyshova, a former professional volleyball player with 12 years of experience.
Focused on providing school-age children a venue for increasing their volleyball skill and knowledge, the PVCG states that their program is successful. Reasons for the success, they say, include incorporating modern technology and exposing students to international tournaments.
At the end of the camp, athletes were awarded medals and certificates.
"We rounded out our summer camp schedule with a $2,000 cash prize coed tournament," Chernyshova said.
The PVCG, in 2019, hosted a tournament with a team from Taiwan. The experience allowed PVCG members to play against high-caliber athletes from other countries.
“We look forward to providing many ongoing opportunities for children and adults who are unable to travel, but want to compete and experience the best,” Sablan said. “We offer this opportunity, and the implemented professional program, within our club here, on Guam.”
“Our goal is to offer the most affordable professional environment, enabling us to pass on our experience to our athletes,” Gubenko said.
He added that the PVCG “offers the real opportunity to gain skills and knowledge on island which can be used to earn university scholarships, or play at the professional level.”