"It was a heartbreaker," DeLuca said. "I'm proud of the girls and the way they fought back. They lost two sets and they were losing in the third set and they still came back. It's tough but hopefully they learn from it and they learn that every point counts."
Set scores were 25-20, 25-14, 25-14, 25-21 and 17-15.
"We knew every match would be a tough match this season," DeLuca said. "We played well. The match was there for the taking. Now our schedule gets a little tougher."
The first set began with both teams earning points back and forth. Revere took a 7-4 lead but Classical fought back with two consecutive points, forcing the Patriots to take a timeout.
Revere responded with a five-point rally before the Rams found their way back on the board. Classical fought back to within a point, down 20-19, but Revere took the set, 25-20.
The momentum carried over for the Patriots into the second set, as Revere fired out to a 14-6 start. Falling into an eight-point deficit forced Classical to take a timeout but the Rams couldn't regroup and dropped the set, 25-14.
"It was a game of inconsistencies," Revere coach Lianne O'Hara said. "We started off really strong but we got a little comfortable and Classical did a nice job of figuring out what we were trying to do. We played a little bit of a different style because Valentina Pepic is injured and she's our dominant middle."
Having fallen in the first two sets, Classical got to work in the third. The Rams stormed out to a 13-4 lead, propelling them to a 25-14 set win. Classical followed suit with a win in the fourth set, 25-21, to force a winner-take-all fifth set.
"We weren't getting any service points in the first two sets," DeLuca said. "We had no energy. It was like we had a wake-up call in the third set and the girls responded with better energy."
Neither team gave in early on in the final set. The Patriots and Rams battled to a 15-15 tie before Revere took the final two points for the win and, simultaneously, a huge sigh of relief.
"Classical found their groove and they played with a little more intensity in those last three sets," O'Hara said. "We just got a little too comfortable and we thought we had it. It was a big sigh of relief when we got those last two points."
For the Rams, Pamela Diaz led the way with 49 digs. Shanelle Belmer-Barry tallied 12 kills, eight blocks and five block assists, Skyler Crayton added eight kills and two blocks and Emily Silva contributed with seven service points.
Both teams can clinch a spot in the state tournament next Monday. Classical (9-5) hosts Peabody while Revere (8-6) visits Lynn English.
"We need one more win to get into the state tournament and we've never beaten Peabody," DeLuca said. "I'd love to get that win on Monday."