You could tell how much avoiding an early postseason exit meant to the Sea Kings by the way the players on the bench stormed onto the field to celebrate with the rest of their teammates in the rain. For much of the match, the players sat and stood underneath a canopy, trying to stay dry.
At least Larsen was prepared afterward. He walked out of the canopy and opened an umbrella before making his way toward midfield to high-five the opponents and shake Coach Juan Muneton's hand.
Larsen wore a big smile and with good reason. The Sea Kings (14-2-7) moved on to the second round and will face Santa Ana Valley (17-8-0) on Wednesday.
For qualifying, Larsen can thank junior Mason Case, who scored the match's lone goal, and the defense and junior goalkeeper Connor Gaal for recording the shutout.
Gaal played in his first match since sitting out the final two regular-season contests because he picked up two red cards. Gaal made a handful of saves against the third-place team out of the Mt. Baldy League.
Case, along with Jack Gorab, duped Garey (18-6-2) on a set piece in the 58th minute.
Brian Ford created the opportunity after the Vikings fouled the UC Davis-bound senior. Gorab quickly lined up to take a direct free kick from 10 yards out of the box and from the left.
Instead of taking a shot, the junior sent a pass on the ground to Mason, who ran on to the ball and struck the ball toward the far post, catching goalkeeper Cris Padilla and the Vikings' defense by surprise. Padilla tried to recover, only to slip and see the ball sneak into the back of the net.
The set piece was one Larsen said CdM worked on the day before in practice.
"It ended up bailing us out," Larsen said.