USA coach Karch Kiraly has lauded Kenya despite beating them in straight sets (25-14, 25-20, 25-14) in the opening FIVB World Cup match in Hamamatsu, Japan on Saturday.
After losing the first set 25-14, Malkia Strikers picked themselves up to play a game of their lives in the second set where they pushed USA to the limits before going down 20-25.
Only Carolyne Sirengo and Emmaculate Chemtai did not feature as coach Paul Bitok used the match to test new players and combinations.
"I want to congratulate Team Kenya. We studied them on video and saw them today and we see them playing the best volleyball we’ve ever seen them. Every year, they are getting better and better and that’s a real credit to their learning and to their coaches. We also have great admiration for the spirit that they play with, their competitive spirit their joy of playing volleyball," Kiraly told FIVB.
USA captain Jordan Larson, who was the second best scorer in the game with 12 points, also spoke glowingly of Kenya.
"First, we are excited to be here. Thanks to Kenya for a great match. For us, we’re starting to build something and we’re just trying to get better every day. Just proud of our team for this start and we’re hoping to build off that," she said.
USA are second behind Russia on the rankings due to an inferior score ratio while Kenya are seventh pending other results on match day one.
Kenya, who are fresh from winning the African Games title, next play Netherlands on Sunday in Hamamatsu.
Additional reporting by FIVB.