The USA men's senior national team reached the podium at the FINA World League Super Final for the first time since 2008, claiming silver after a 10-6 loss to defending champion Serbia in the championship match Sunday in Huizhou, China.
The U.S. (4-2, 15-3) has split the last eight matches with Serbia, winning the first four and dropping the last four. The teams are likely to meet again in the Olympics next month.
Six different scorers paced the USA attack on offense. Merrill Moses and McQuin Baron split time in net, combining on 13 saves.
The Americans return home to continue training in in Southern California after spending a month on the road. The 2016 Olympic team is expected to be announced July 7 on the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego.
Serbia got off to a quick start going ahead 2-0 after the first period. They kept up the intensity in the second period posting three more goals to take a 5-1 lead at halftime.
A strong third period put Serbia in position for victory as they outscored Team USA 3-0 to hold an 8-1 lead going into the final quarter.
Team USA looked to stage a major rally in the final eight minutes as they tallied five goals but it wouldn't be enough as Serbia countered with two more strikes on the way to the 10-6 win.
"Serbia is the best team in the world. We had two hard battles in a row to qualify for the final," U.S. coach Dejan Udovicic said. "We were really tired and did not play our best. Our first center got a fever last night and did not play in the final. These are not excuse but if we want to play with Serbia, we must be at 100 percent. Serbia deserved the win. Congratulations to them."
Team USA went 3-of-12 on power plays and failed to convert its lone penalty shot. Serbia was 5-of-7 on power plays and converted on it one penalty shot.
The silver medal finish equals Team USA's best finish at this event. In 2008 the United States also earned silver after losing to Serbia 7-3 in the title match.