Riverdale Ridge girls soccer on a roll

Ravens also salute kindness

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THORNTON -- Riverdale Ridge's girls soccer team is making some noise in the class 3A/4A Longs Peak League this season.
Through April 21, the Ravens were 8-2-1 and 4-1 in conference play. The conference loss came at Niwot.
"It's definitely special so far," said junior Aliyah Denton, who has 17 goals and 39 points this season. "This (a 9-0 home-pitch win against Severance April 19) is our fifth shutout in a row. We're doing really well. At the start of the season, we played strong in our first few games. We lost ne, tied one and then won seven in a row. We're starting off pretty strong."
The strong start is not a surprise to senior Aryanna Day, who has 13 assists thus far..
"We put in tons of work," she said. "We always say, 'We earn our pennies during practices, and we dump our pennies out during games.' That's kind of where our skills show."
The roster includes eight upper classmen, split evenly between 11th- and 12th-graders.
"We graduated one player last year (), and she was a really good player. We have some really good freshmen," Denton said.
"Coach (Danelle Dondelinger) has done a good job of passing her skills onto us," Day said. "We've taken that and translated it onto the field. The freshmen are picking that up super well, too."
Denton said the knowledge she and the other upper classmen possess does not amount to extra pressure on the pitch.
"When we get on the field, we're all one big family. We have talkative leaders, and we leaders who show their leadership through their skills," she said. "There's different types of leadership that make it up to where it's not pressure."
Denton and Day have eyes on being a coach at some point in their futures.
"I absolutely want to be a coach. I've learned quite a bit," Day said. "We can all say that we've learned quite a bit from our coach. She's made a big impact in all of our lives."
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The April 19 game against Severance also was the Ravens' annual kindness night. It provides a chance for the players to explain -- in their own words -- what kindness means to them.
Arely Gonzalez said kindness is important when it comes to competitive and league sports.
"It shows sportsmanship, and it shows that if you are playing against each other, it doesn't you have hate towards one another," her letter read. "Kindness means when you care about one another or people."
"When it comes to sports, kindness is important. Sports can become extremely competitive, and it is important to remember that even though we want to win, we shouldn't become mean and start playing dirty while doing it," her letter said. "By showing kindness -- like not taking cheap shots or making sure the other team can play a full game -- not only does it make the game safer, it also makes the game more enjoyable for both teams."
Caitlyn Murphy said kindness is "often overlooked when it comes to competitive sports."
"Winning is usually the main concern when athletes and coaches are playing," her comments read. "However, it is important to be kind while winning. Tempers flare, and games get heated. But as players, parents and coaches, we need to look past the anger and play with good sportsmanship and empathy. Kindness moves beyond niceness when being sincere comes into play. Kindness is sharing a deeper consideration for those around you."
The team's definitions of kindness were written on notebook paper and tacked onto a fence behind the Ravens' bench.

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