Luft-Bennett claim Polar Bear Tournament title

It was no day at the beach for Dillan Bennett on Saturday.

The Laguna Blanca boys volleyball coach was not only busy running the Polar Bear doubles tournament, he was digging, setting, hitting, serving and winning the 32nd annual day-before-the-Super-Bowl event at East Beach.

The finalists of the 32nd annual Polar Bear Tournament were, from left Dillan Bennett and Lynn Luft, and Jackie Signor and Jeff Rydberg.  Posing with them is  Sasha. (Jorge Richardson photo)

The finalists of the 32nd annual Polar Bear Tournament were, from left Dillan Bennett and Lynn Luft, and Jackie Signor and Jeff Rydberg. Posing with them is Sasha. (Jorge Richardson photo)

Bennett teamed with Santa Barbara’s Lynn Luft and defeated Jeff Rydberg (Camarillo) and Jackie Signor (Santa Cruz) in the final, 21-14.

Bennett, also the tournament director, said 80 players participated in the tournament. Among the participants was 7-foot pro player Ryan Doherty, who has been training at East Beach with local Olympic gold medalist Todd Rogers.

In one of the pool-play matches, Doherty played with 12-year-old Jake Engel. (See video)

“Doherty played with the kids and just made their day,” said Bennett.

In the semifinals, Bennett-Luft defeated Mike DeLapa-Desiree Partlow, and Rydberg-Signor beat Joe Erikat-Ann Haggerty.