Rio de Janeiro, August 8, 2016 - Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands will be looking to keep their winning ways alive in pool F as they battle Costa Rica's Natalia Alfaro/Karen Charles in the only women's match of the afternoon session on day three. The Costa Ricans will be looking for their first victory in a must-win match if they want to advance to the elimination stages.
Head to Head
The two teams have never played in FIVB World Tour competition
Historically the #18 seed has won two out of the three meetings in the Olympic Games, all in pool play. In London (2012) and Athens (2004), the home nation was honorarily given the #6 seed, and the #18 won both of those matches 25-23, 21-13 and 21-15, 15-21, 16-14, respectively. In Beijing (2008), the #6 seed wpm 21-18 and 21-19.
Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel, Netherlands, Seed #6, Pool F, 1-0, MAX Set Ratio, 1.5000 Point Ratio, Qualified 6th with 5,920 Points in the 2015-16 Olympic qualification period
• Madelein: November 29, 1989 (26y8m8d), 183 cm (6'0"), 73 kg (162 lbs.), Hometown Rhenen, 77th FIVB World Tour event, one gold medal, $363,537 career winnings (ranks 44th)
• Marleen: January 7, 1988 (28y6m30d), 178 cm (5'10"), 70 kg (155 lbs.), Hometown Breda, 106th FIVB World Tour event (ranks 48th), two gold medals, $514,587 career winnings (ranks 21st)
• Madelein and Marleen have been playing together since 2014. They are playing in their 31st FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together, $467,375 career winnings (ranks 26th).
• Madelein has played in 14 FIVB World Tour final fours with one gold, five silver, four bronze medals and four 4th place finishes.
• Marleen has played in 22 FIVB World Tour final fours with two gold, five silver, seven bronze medals and eight 4th place finishes.
• Madelein and Marleen have played in seven Final Fours in 2015-2016 (Silver Lucerne Open 2015, Silver Moscow Grand Slam 2015, Bronze Stavanger Major 2015, Silver Olsztyn Grand Slam 2015, Bronze Rio de Janeiro Open 2015, Silver Maceió Open 2016, 4th Gstaad Major 2016).
• Madelein finished 9th in the Olympic Games with Sophie van Gestel in 2012 (London).
• Marleen finished 9th in the Olympic Games with Sanne Keizer in 2012 (London).
• Madelein and Marleen finished 9th in the FIVB World Championships in 2015 (The Hague).
• Madelein finished 37th in the FIVB World Championships with Marloes Wesselink in 2011 (Rome) and 17th with Sophie van Gestel in 2013 (Stare Jablonki).
• Marleen finished 5th in the FIVB World Championships in 2009 (Stavanger), 9th in 2011 (Rome), and 9th in 2013 (Stare Jablonki), all with Sanne Keizer.
• Madelein and Marleen are currently ranked 14th in FIVB World Tour points in 2016 with 3,230 points and 10th in winnings with $98,375.
• Madelein and Marleen have a career 111-54 (67.3%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events and a 70-35 (66.7%) record in 2015-16.
• Madelein and Marleen won the gold medal at the European (CEV) Continental Championship in 2014 (Cagliari, Italy).
• Madelein won a bronze medal on the CEV Continental Tour with Marloes Wesselink in 2011 (Niechorze, Poland).
• Marleen won the silver medal at the U19 World Championships with Danielle Remmers in 2006 (Bermuda, Bermuda).
• Marleen won bronze medals at the U21 World Championships with Marloes Wesselink in 2006 (Myslowice, Poland) and 2007 (Modena, Italy).
• Marleen won the gold medal at the U21 World Championships with Danielle Remmers in 2008 (Brighton, England).
• Marleen won the gold medal at the CEV Continental Championships with Sanne Keizer in 2012 (The Hague, Netherlands) and one other bronze medal on the CEV Continental Tour with Marloes Wesslink in 2007 (The Hague, Netherlands).
• Marleen was named the FIVB World Tour Most Improved Player in 2009, Best Server in 2010, and Best Setter in 2015.
• Defeated Norisbeth Agudo / Olaya Pazo, Venezuela (19), 21-17 and 21-11 in 33 minutes.
Natalia Alfaro/Karen Charles, Costa Rica, Seed #18, Pool F, 0-1, 0.000 Set Ratio, 0.6905 Point Ratio, 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.
• Neither Natalia nor Karen have played in an FIVB World Tour final four. Their best finishes are a pair of 25ths in the Puerto Vallarta Open 2015-16 and the Cincinnati Open 2016.
• 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 2-12 (14.3%) match record in FIVB World Tour Events, all in 2015-16.
• 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.
• Lost to Louise Bawden / Taliqua Clancy, Australia (7), 15-21 and 14-21 in 40 minutes.