Women's competition, Osaka
From 2 June To 6 June 2004

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Aussies Seeking Different Path
OSAKA, JAPAN, June 2, 2004 - After winning a pair of matches here Wednesday during the opening Qualification Tournament rounds in the women's SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event, Stacey Kloeden and Renael Maycock are not looking to exactly repeat last week's finish in China.

For the second-straight week, the 21st-seeded Aussies defeated the same two teams in a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour stop to advance to the final round of the Qualification Tournament where they seek to avenge a setback to Italian Olympians Laura Bruschini and Annamaria Solazzi last Thursday in Shanghai.

Maycock, who played on Australian's Sydney 2000 Olympic Indoor team, and Kloeden lost to 21-13 and 21-18 to Bruschini and Solazzi last week China to be denied a berth in the Main Draw. "This week, we are looking for a different result, said Maycock after her second match Wednesday.

"It will be tough as the Italians are very experienced and skilled players," said the 24-year old Maycock. While Bruschini and Solazzi are playing in their 66th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event, Kloeden and Maycock are competing in their sixth.

After defeating 22nd-seeded Larraine Busch and Kaylah Nielsen 21-14 and 21-16 in an Australian country quota match Wednesday morning, Kloeden and Maycock eliminated 12th-seeded Leigh-Ann Naidoo and Julia Willand of South Africa, 22-20, 16-21 and 15-13. Last Wednesday, Kloeden and Maycock ousted the same two teams by almost the same scores.

"We are only playing in the two Asian events this year," said Maycock, "so it is important for us to take advantage of this experience. The wins over the South Africans were very important since they'll be competing in the Olympics." Naidoo and Willand are ticketed a spot in Athens as the African women's representative in the beach volleyball competition.

Thursday's final qualifying matches will determine the final eight spots in the Main Draw as the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event returns to Tannowa Beach for the 11th-straight season. The double-elimination Main Draw starts Friday as 32 teams compete for US$180,000 prize money.

The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour departs Osaka for a weekend off before the final three Olympic qualifying events in Switzerland, Germany and Norway. The beach volleyball competition at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games will be played August 14-25.