They've never met her, and don't know her name. In fact, their lives would likely never have crossed paths.

But that didn't stop the girls of Antioch High School's varsity soccer team from reaching out to the 16-year-old victim of an Oct. 24 gang rape at Richmond High School.

"I couldn't believe so many people could stand there and watch," said Dallas Butterfield, 17, an Antioch High senior who plays central defense. Butterfield was "in complete shock" when she heard about the incident.

Her 16 teammates were equally upset.

"The fact that (the victim) was the same age as a lot of these players, that really hit home," said assistant coach Gianna Coniglio.

On Thursday, after weeks of Friday nights sacrificed to serve dinners at the Pittsburg Elk's Lodge, the team presented a $1,000 check for the victim at halftime during a preseason game against Richmond High. Richmond police Sgt. Lori Curran accepted the donation on the girl's behalf.

Curran fought back tears during the presentation — and said the victim was just as moved when told of the donation.

"At a time when I think this young girl felt like especially no one her age really cared, you had an entire team step forward and demonstrate that they really care," Curran said. "The thought was to me, 'We don't have to know you to love you and to support you."

Antioch head soccer coach Scott Joseph, a firefighter at Richmond's Chevron refinery, encouraged his team and helped connect them with Curran. Principal Louie Rocha spread the word through the district in an e-mail praising the team's efforts, and school staff members responded in kind.

"The whole AHS family is proud of them for taking time to show this young lady that they cared about her," wrote teacher Kim Parrott.

Antioch midfielder Meghan Simarro, 18, called their donation "such a small thing in all she's going through," but said her team wanted to do "anything that could support her."

"We can't imagine what she must be going through," said goalie Melissa Holmes, 17.

In the incident's wake, schools are also re-evaluating what it means to keep their students safe. Richmond High soccer coach Felipe Franco said his players now pair up to leave practice. In Antioch, the Dec. 5 winter dance will begin and end an hour earlier, and students won't be allowed to leave early unless a parent picks them up.

And girls across the Bay Area are speaking up and having the uncomfortable — but necessary — conversations about their own safety.

"I'll be aware of my surroundings," said midfielder Kaitlin Simarro, 18. "It will be in the back of my mind."

"Isn't that what we want from every tragedy?" Curran said. "We want, for one, it to never happen again; and two, for there to be a lesson learned. I think in this story that's probably the real silver lining."

Reach Hilary Costa at 925-779-7166. Follow her at Twitter.com/hilaryccosta.