Bennett-Satterfield earn runner-up honors at SB Open

Dillan Bennett makes a diving dig during CBVA Santa Barbara Open. Bennett and Ian Satterfield finished second.

Dillan Bennett makes a diving dig during the CBVA Santa Barbara Men’s Open. Bennett and Ian Satterfield finished second. (Presidio Sports photo)

Dillan Bennett was the last local player standing in the California Beach Volleyball Association Santa Barbara Men’s Open on Saturday.

And Bennett and partner Ian Satterfield could barely stand after enduring tough quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

The pair fought through leg cramps and fatigue in the final and ended up falling to former AVP regular Jon Moran and Gregg Weaver, a former international tour player. The Hermosa Beach-based team made several plays on defense and played steady on offense to score a 21-12, 21-15 victory for the championship.

Weaver seemed to be everywhere on the court, picking up balls and converting them into points, while Moran controlled the net.

“We communicate well,” said Weaver, a native of England, who just missed qualifying for the British beach volleyball team for the 2012 London Olympics. “We get along really well on and off the court, so it makes it easy to communicate and be honest to tell each other what we want from each other. It works.”

Said Moran: “Gregg is just a phenomenal athlete. If I do my job at the net, he covers a tremendous amount of court. It makes it really easy.”


Ian Satterfield tries to hit past the block of Jon Moran during the final of the Santa Barbara Open.

Bennett-Satterfield struggled to make the plays that helped them pull out a three-set match in the quarterfinals against the local team of Matt Jones and Mike Stewart, and then beat the AVP team of Billy Strickland and Aaron Wachtfogel (21-19, 21-11) in the semifinals

Moran-Weaver swept Reuben Danely and Mark Tkaczuk in the other semifinal.

“They went through the playoffs pretty quick, like a hot knife through butter,” said Bennett of Moran-Weaver. “We struggled through the first round, playing Matt Jones and Mike Stewart and barely winning, 16-14, in the third set. After that match both of us started cramping. So going into a match against two former AVP Players (Wachtfogel-Strickland) with both of our legs pretty locked up from cramps, it wasn’t looking good for us.”

All he hoped for was, “We make a couple of plays and give somebody something to watch that is fun. And we did.”

Bennett made the play of the match against Wachtfogel-Strickland. Down 14-16, he dived to pick up a Wachtfogel shot and sent the ball back over the net and into the open court for a point.

The 5-11 Bennett then hit over the 6-9 Strickland to tie the score at 16-16. The teams traded sideouts before Satterfield served an ace off the tape to give them their first lead of the match, 19-18. Bennett scored on a deep shot for a two-point lead before Strickland got a sideout. On the next play, Bennett hit high off Strickland’s block for the winning point.

Bennett-Satterfield carried the momentum into the second set, roaring out to a 10-2 lead. A Wachtfogel ace cut it to five, 14-9, but the local team responded with a four-point run. Satterfield, an outside hitter for Long Beach State, capped the run with a stuff block.

The CBVA Santa Barbara Men's Open finalists, from left, Ian Satterfield, Dillan Bennett, Gregg Weaver and Jon Moran.

The CBVA Santa Barbara Men’s Open finalists, from left, Ian Satterfield, Dillan Bennett, Gregg Weaver and Jon Moran.

Bennett, the boys volleyball coach at Laguna Blanca, said the strategy in the semifinals was to go after Strickland, a former partner of Nick Lucena and Dax Holdren.

“Aaron is really good on siding out, so Ian and I agreed that we want to make Billy do a lot,” he said. “When we converted at game point (in the first set), I think that took the wind out of their sails a little bit. Billy, clearly, his legs were shot. We took advantage against weary legs.”

While beating an AVP team was satisfying, Bennett said the win over Jones-Stewart had extra meaning. It was for bragging rights.

“That was like a final for us because that was another Santa Barbara team,” he said. “We were the only teams left in the playoffs, and that was a big one. We wanted to win that one.”

As for the final, Bennett said he and Satterfield felt lucky to make it. “We knew we were pretty gassed and we knew we were in trouble. But we were happy to be in the finals. I hate being second but I’m OK with this one.”