Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, June 28, 2015 - Natalia Alfaro and Karen Cope are only the second ever team from Costa Rica to qualify for the FIVB World Championships. The pair make their first appearance as a team in an international event and are seeded 38th in the Netherlands.
Alfaro/Cope had a tough opening pool match against the experienced Germans Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst. The Costa Rican team lost 2-0 (21-9, 21-12) but are jumping on the opportunity to improve their game.
"We need to work out more our stuff, I think we were a lot more focused on what they were doing instead of what we had to do to get our game in our rhythm and not theirs. But it's our first World Champs ever so it's always a good first match for us.
We need to focus on our passing, our defence was not that good, blocking was not good at all and we have to work on stuff like that really quickly so we can get it into a better shape for our next game," said Cope.
Together in 2013 and 2014, Alfaro/Cope competed in seven NORCECA events with fourth and fifth place finishes, but have never competed to this level before.
"We were in a camp in the United States for a month and a half. Before that we had one tournament in NORCECA in the Cayman Islands and I think that was about it. We don't play the World Tour, so it's a lot different to meet these kinds of teams because we have never seen them before so it's pretty new, but it's a big event and we're trying to get used to it.
"We really want to win and we really want to do our best matches ever, but we have to consider the fact that we are an inexperienced team. We just want to do our best and get the best results we can.
This is the biggest event we have played. We're really proud we are able to be here, but facing teams like this means we need to work harder to be on the top level so that's our goal," said Cope.
Alfaro/Cope will next face Dubovcova/Nestarcova from Slovakia in their second Pool K match.