Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 5, 2016 - The women's competition in Rio starts off with the #7 seeded Australians, Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy taking on the #18 seed, Natalia Alfaro/Karen Charles of Costa Rica. After going winless in Pool E in London, Louise will be hoping to get a first win and improve on her 19th-place finish with Becchara Palmer while Natalia and Karen are the first team from Costa Rica to compete in the Olympic Games in beach volleyball.
Head to Head
The two teams have never played in an FIVB World Tour event. Historically the #7 seed and #18 seed have split their four matches in Olympic Games history. The #18 seed has won two out of three in pool play, including an upset by Australia's Kerri Pottharst/Summer Lochowicz over China's Jia Tian/Fei Wang in Athens (2004).
Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, Australia, Seed #7, Pool F, Qualified 7th with 5,470 Points in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period
• Louise: August 7, 1981 (34y11m30d), 184 cm (6'0"), 72 kg (160 lbs.), Hometown Melbourne, 79th FIVB World Tour event, $285,987 career winnings (ranks 58th)
• Taliqua: June 25, 1992 (24y1m12d), 184 cm (6'0"), 68 kg (151 lbs.), Hometown Kingaroy, 43rd FIVB World Tour event, $180,737 career winnings (ranks 96th)
• Louise and Taliqua have been playing together since 2013. They are playing in their 39th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together with $357,225 in career winnings (ranks 43rd).
• Louise has played in five FIVB World Tour final fours with one silver medal, one bronze medal and three 4th place finishes.
• Taliqua has played in three FIVB World Tour final fours with one bronze medal and two 4th place finishes.
• Louise and Taliqua have played in three Final Fours in 2015-2016 (Bronze Porec Major 2015, 4th Long Beach Grand Slam 2015, 4th Vitória Open 2016).
• Louise finished 19th in the Olympic Games with Becchara Palmer in 2012 (London).
• Louise and Taliqua finished 17th in the FIVB World Championships in 2013 (Stare Jablonki) and 5th in 2015 (The Hague).
• Louise finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships with Becchara Palmer in 2011 (Rome).
• Louise and Taliqua are currently ranked 32nd in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 2,230 points and 23rd in winnings with $62,500.
• Louise and Taliqua have a career 81-91 (47.1%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events and a 49-35 (58.3%) record in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period.
• Louise and Taliqua won gold medals at the Asian (AVC) Continental Championships in 2014 (China) and 2015 (Hong Kong).
• Taliqua won the bronze medal at the U19 World Championships with Eliza Hynes in 2010 (Porto, Portugal).
• Taliqua won the bronze medal at the U21 World Championships with Mariafe Artacho in 2012 (Halifax, Canada).
• Louise was named the FIVB World Tour Top Rookie in 2009.
Natalia Alfaro/Karen Charles, Costa Rica, Seed #18, Pool F, Qualified through North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation (NORCECA) Continental Cup
• Natalia: April 8, 1987 (29y3m29d), 165 cm (5'5"), 59 kg (131 lbs.), Hometown Heredia, 8th FIVB World Tour event, $2,500 career winnings
• Karen: November 6, 1985 (30y9m0d), 173 cm (5'8"), 60 kg (133 lbs.), Hometown San Jose, 7th FIVB World Tour event, $2,500 career winnings
• Natalia and Karen have been playing together since 2015. They are playing in their 7th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together with $5,000 in career winnings. They are the second-least experienced women's team competing in the Rio Olympics, ahead of Elghobashy/Meawad of Egypt with no previous events.
• Natalia and Karen finished 37th in the FIVB World Championships in 2015 (The Hague).
• Natalia and Karen are currently ranked 72nd in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 370 points and 83rd in winnings with $1,600.
• Natalia and Karen have a career 2-11 (15.4%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events, all in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period.
• Natalia and Karen won three silver medals on the NORCECA Continental Tour in 2014 (Guatemala City, Guatemala), 2015 (Pigeon Point, Saint Lucia), and 2016 (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands).
• Natalia and Karen won two bronze medals on the NORCECA Continental Tour in 2015 (Varadero, Cuba) and (Tavares, United States).
• Natalia won five silver medals and six bronze medals on the NORCECA Continental Tour with Ingrid Morales from 2008-12.
• Natalia and Karen are the first team from Costa Rica to compete in the Olympic Games for beach volleyball.
• Natalia is the shortest women's player competing in the Rio Olympics at 165 cm (5'5"). She is tied with four other players as the second shortest in all six Olympic Games, behind Mexico's Teresa Galindo (162 cm) who played in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
• Natalia and Karen teamed with Marcela Araya/Valeria Valenciano to win the NORCECA Continental Cup at the end of June in Guaymas, Mexico. After posting back-to-back wins over Jamaica (3-0) and Cuba (3-2 with a 15-9 gold set win), the Costa Rican teams were victorious over Mexico 3-1. They won five of their six matches in the competition highlighted by the golden set win against Cuba and two match successes against Mexico.