The Hague, The Netherlands, July 2, 2015 - In addition to a berth in the quarter-finals at the 2015 FIVB “senior” Beach Volleyball World Championships, the international series leadership will be at stake when top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands meet 17th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia on the sand of The Hofvijver stadium court here Thursday afternoon.
The FIVB head-to-head series between the Dutch and Aussies is tied 2-2 with Meppelink and Van Iersel capturing a pair of wins three weeks ago in the Norwegian Major in Stavanger. A week earlier, Bawden and Clancy prevailed in the Croatian Major in Porec. The Aussies first win in the series was on nearby Scheveningen beach in last year’s Dutch Grand Slam.
Meppelink and Van Iersel, the reigning European champions and the Pool A winner this week, are playing in their 16th FIVB World Tour event as the Dutch pair will be seeking their 10th appearance in the quarter-finals on the international circuit. The 2015 world championships are the Dutch’s first together as Meppelink is guaranteed her best placement after finishing 37th in 2001 (Marloes Wesselink) and 17th in 2013 (Sophie van Gestel. Van Iersel is appearing in her fourth world championships after placing fifth, ninth and ninth in the last three tournaments.
Bawden and Clancy, who finished second to Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez of Spain in Pool H this week, are playing in their 27th FIVB World Tour event. A win over the Dutch would earn Bawden and Clancy their seventh quarter-final appearance and a possible rematch against the Spaniards, who play Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima in the other “Sweet 16” match in The Hague Thursday afternoon.
The Australians are guaranteed their best finish together in the world championships after placing 17th in 2013 in Stare Jablonki, Poland. With Clancy is appearing in her second world championships, Bawden and Becchara Palmer were ninth in the 2011 event in Rome.
Fernanda Alves / Taiana Lima (BRA), 1st Place Pool I, The Hague
• Fernanda Alves and Taiana Lima have been playing together since 2014. They are playing in their 11th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together.
• Fernanda has played in 3 FIVB World Tour final fours with one gold medal, one bronze medal and one 4th place finish.
• Taiana has played in 15 FIVB World Tour final fours with six gold, three silver, three bronze medals and three 4th place finishes.
• Fernanda and Taiana have played in 1 Final Four in 2015 (Bronze St. Petersburg Grand Slam).
• Fernanda and Taiana are currently ranked 28th in FIVB World Tour points in 2015 with 1,380 points and 15th in winnings with $50,000.
• Fernanda ($99,025) ranks 154th and Taiana ($336,950) ranks 41st in all-time FIVB World Tour individual earnings.
• Taiana won the gold medal at the U21 World Championships with Juliana Felisberta in 2002 (Catania, Italy).
• Taiana won the gold medal at the U21 World Championships with Carolina Salgado in 2004 (Porto Santo, Portugal).
• Taiana was named the FIVB World Tour Most Improved Player in 2010, Sportsperson in 2013, and was Team of the Year and Tour Champion with Talita Antunes in 2013.
Elsa Baquerizo / Liliana Fernandez (ESP), 1st Place Pool H, The Hague
• Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez have been playing together since 2008. They are playing in their 78th FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour tournament together.
• Elsa has played in 7 FIVB World Tour final fours with three silver medals, one bronze medal and three 4th place finishes.
• Liliana has played in 7 FIVB World Tour final fours with three silver medals, one bronze medal and three 4th place finishes.
• Elsa and Liliana last Final Four was a 4th Place Finish at Long Beach in July, 2014.
• Elsa and Liliana finished 9th in the Olympic Games in 2012 (London).
• Elsa and Liliana are currently ranked 10th in FIVB World Tour points in 2015 with 2420 points and 9th in winnings with $69,000.
• Elsa and Liliana rank 16th on the all-time FIVB World Tour team tournament list with 78 and 13th on the all-time FIVB World Tour team winnings list with $597,350.
• Elsa ($298,675) ranks 49th and Liliana ($299,675) ranks 47th in all-time FIVB World Tour individual earnings.
• Elsa and Liliana won the bronze medal at the 2012 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final in 2012 (The Hague, Netherlands).
• Elsa and Liliana won the bronze medal at the 2012 CEV Beach Volleyball European Varna Masters in 2012 (Varna, Bulgaria).
• Elsa and Liliana won the silver medal at the 2013 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship Final in 2013 (Klagenfurt, Austria).
Baquerizo/Fernandez lead the head-to-head 2 to 1
• Klagenfurt Grand Slam, 07/31/2014, Pool F , Baquerizo/Fernandez won 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) (0:35)
• Long Beach Grand Slam, 07/25/2014, Winner 2, Baquerizo/Fernandez won 2-1 (19-21, 26-24, 15-12) (0:59)
• Gstaad Grand Slam, 07/10/2014, Pool B , Alves/Lima won 2-0 (23-21, 21-11) (0:40)