The women of the Netherlands eked out a semifinal win at the 2016 European Water Polo Championships, beating Spain in a thrilling penalty shootout.
The Dutch were on the attack early, scoring within the first minute of the first, second and fourth periods, forcing Spain to continually play catch-up throughout the match.
Sabrina van der Sloot drew first blood, drilling a Netherlands goal just 26 seconds into the match. That was her first of two goals on the day, the second coming just over a minute into the first overtime period.
A minute and a half later, Yasmin Smit put the Dutch up 2-0 with her first of two goals – Smit and van der Sloot would lead the team in goals.
Spain’s saving grace was the scoring ability of Roser Tarrago, who knocked in three goals on five shots. She single-handedly tied the game in the first period with two goals within one minute after van der Sloot and Smit’s scores.
The Netherlands would jump to another two-goal lead, but scores from Tarrago and Maica Garcia evened things up again. Then Spain took its first lead of the day on an Anna Espar goal with just under five minutes left in the second period.
But the lead was short-lived, as the Netherlands struck back just 34 seconds later, tying the game heading into the third. Van der Sloots and Smit both scored in the third, but a pair of Spanish goals from Beatriz Ortiz once again evened the score and forced a penalty shootout for a trip to the European finals.
The Netherlands missed its first penalty shot off the post, giving Spain an early lead – penalty shootouts cycle through five different shooters for each team before they become sudden death, though, and Dutch goalkeeper Laura Aarts got a clutch save on the third shot to bring things back to even.
Ultimately, van der Sloots got the first and last goals of the day – she scored in the 6th round of the penalty shootout to put the Netherlands up 15-14, and Aarts came up with another save to deny Spain and send the Dutch into the gold medal finals.