There are no stands surrounding the grass field at Shawnee High School.

The 400 or so in attendance Tuesday afternoon were mostly sitting on the ground or standing, several deep in some spots, craning their necks to see the nation's most storied girls' lacrosse rivalry.

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Emotions always run high when Shawnee plays Moorestown in girls' lacrosse.

The intensity on the field is different, something separate even from what you'd feel in a postseason game. But that still doesn't quite explain what the annual matchup means to the players.

Asked what the experience was like - starting for the first time in this game as a senior - Quakers goalie Shannon Keeler choked up a bit. Her voice filled with pride and a bit of nostalgia.

"I've been preparing for this game my whole life," Keeler said after the No. 1 Quakers prevailed, 8-4, in a battle of the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, both undefeated entering the game.

"I've been waiting for this moment. I've been waiting to have this opportunity to play in this game that so many before me have played in.

"And the experience of doing that and succeeding is indescribable."

Keeler, who recorded nine saves, was one of many Moorestown players who came up big on an overcast, windy afternoon.

The Quakers fell behind, 2-0, early. They were down by 3-1 with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the first half until quick goals by Marie McCool and Gabby Frank evened the score before halftime.

"Off the field, we're all best friends with the players from Shawnee," McCool said. "But we all just want to win this game so bad.

"So when we fell behind, we just tried to not get down and tried to stay focused on the mental part of the game."

McCool was one of three Quakers to score two goals. Gabby Frank and Jessica Dadino also scored twice for Moorestown (16-0).

"I've been coaching for 22 years and there have been some intense games against Shawnee, and this was absolutely one of them," Moorestown coach Deanna Knobloch said.

In those 22 years, Moorestown or Shawnee has nearly exclusively been crowned the de facto state champion at the end of the year.

"Shawnee played a great game against us," Knobloch said. "I told my team I was really proud of them. They could have folded, but they didn't."

Moorestown held possession for the vast majority of the second half as it pulled away from Shawnee (12-1). The score remained close largely because of a strong effort by Shawnee sophomore goalie Lily Argyle, who recorded 15 saves.

"She did a great job," Shawnee coach Janae Zechman said. "I didn't think the final score was indicative of the game.

"I thought my girls played a great game."

Moorestown 3 5 – 8

Shawnee 3 1 – 4

Goals: M-Sydney Dalmass, Marie McCool 2, Gabby Frank 2, Kierstyn Voiro, Jessica Dadino 2; S-Shannon Nugent, Caroline Shinske 2, Carly Demato.

Saves: M-Shannon Keeler 9; S-Lily Argyle 15.

Contact Chris Melchiorre at rallysports@phillynews.com.