Krystina Alogbo, left, of Canada, and Jessica Steffens of the United States battle for the ball during the women's water polo gold medal game at the world aquatics championships on Friday. ((Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images))

The Canadian women's water polo team had its protest over the gold medal game rejected by the sport's governing body on Saturday, and will settle for silver after a surprising run at the world aquatics championships.

The protest was launched after Canada was edged 7-6 by the United States on Friday in the final. The U.S. was leading 5-4 in the second quarter when American Elsie Windes hit Canadian captain Krystina Alogbo in the face.

Windes was ejected, but the Canadian team was upset that she was given a penalty for violence and not the more serious call of brutality. The call would have given Canada a four minute man-advantage and a penalty shot.

It could have been the difference in what was a very tight game. The Americans scored the game-winner on a penalty shot with only four minutes remaining.

"We are obviously disappointed; there were definite issues. I can't say we agree at all," Water Polo Canada's executive director Ahmed El-Awadi said in a statement.

FINA, the sport's governing body, had its technical water committee deliberate the incident Friday night and early into Saturday, but ultimately denied Canada's protest.

Incredible run

It's the only black spot on what was an incredible run by the Canadian women during the tournament.

The squad pulled off huge upsets over Hungary in the quarter-final and then Russia, the 2008 European champs, in the semifinals before facing the defending champion Americans in the final.

"Although we protested, this does not mean we will not be celebrating this achievement," El-Awadi said. "This is a very proud moment for water polo in Canada. This group of athletes could have easily walked away after not qualifying for 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"They stayed and committed back to the program, trained through the Olympics and represented us in Rome with class and dignity. They gave Canada a silver medal. We are so very proud."

With files from The Canadian Press