The U.S. men's national water polo team lost to Canada, 6-5, on Sunday in the gold medal game of the UANA World Aquatics Championship Qualification Tournament in Calgary, Alberta.
Both Rancho Palos Verdes resident Nikola Vavic and Long Beach resident Ryan Bailey scored goals in the hard-fought battle.
The U.S., which had assured itself of a berth in the world championship by defeating Argentina, 15-8, in a semifinal Saturday, never led, trailing 2-0 at the end of the first quarter on two goals by Justin Boyd.
Canada increased its lead to 4-0 on second-quarter goals by Jared McElroy and and Nicolas Constantin-Bicari.
Vavic scored two minutes, 48 seconds before halftime for the lone U.S. goal of the first half.
Goals by Bailey and Bret Bonanni of Huntington Beach cut Canada's lead to 4-3 with 3:55 left in the third quarter. Canada regained a two-goal lead when Boyd scored with 2:35 left in the quarter.
The U.S. again pulled within one, 5-4, on Vavic's goal with 1:07 to play in the quarter, but Canada took a 6-4 lead 26 seconds later on Kevin Graham's goal.
Scott Davidson of Seal Beach scored with 2:19 left in the fourth quarter, but the U.S. was unable to tie the score.
Both of the U.S.' losses in its five tournament games came to Canada. The U.S. lost to Canada, 10-6, Wednesday in the opening game of the round-robin portion of the for both teams.
The top two finishers in the four-team tournament were assured of berths in the world championship, which will be held in Barcelona, Spain this summer.