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Dominicans advance to semifinals despite loss to Thailand

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, September 15, 2017 – Dominican Republic secured a spot in the semifinals of the 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship in spite of losing a seven-set duel with Thailand on Friday at Arena Stozice.

It will be the third consecutive appearance for the Dominican Republic at the Final Four of the competition. They won a silver medal in the inaugural edition in 2013 and claimed the bronze medal in 2015.

Thailand scored a remarkable 4-3 (9-15, 12-15, 15-12, 11-15, 15-12, 15-11, 21-19) win to remain hopeful for a spot in the 5-8 group.

Despite their loss, the 'Queens of the Caribbean' join Slovenia in the top four. The hosts had already qualified since the previous evening. The Dominicans had sealed their ticket after taking their third set for a 3-1 lead.

Gaila Gonzalez led the Dominican Republic with 27 points, followed by Vielka Peralta and Jineiry Martinez with 15 points apiece. Madeline Guillén finished with 14 in the loss.

Thailand's Thanacha Sooksod registered a tournament high of 32 points, which is also a competition record regardless of scoring system used. She is only the third player to break the 30-point mark in the history of the Women's U23 World Championship, after 31 points by Italy's Valentina Diouf in 2013 against Egypt and 30 by Egypt's Aya Elshamy on the opening day this year against the Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic coach, Wagner Pacheco: "We are really, really happy with proceeding to semifinals. This really means a lot for our country, but on the other hand we are disappointed with our performance today."