Earlier this week, Tucker Foote ’02, who captained the men’s lacrosse team his senior year, sent a letter to this year’s team. The letter discussed how Yale had beaten Princeton in 2002 only to fall to Brown the next game — a loss that helped keep the Elis from making the NCAA Tournament that season.

The team posted the letter in the locker room and read it daily.

“It was great motivation going into this game,” attackman Seth Goldberg ’05 said. “If anything, it made sure everyone realized how important it was to come away with a victory against [Brown].”

Captain DJ Barry ’05 called Foote to thank him after the Elis (6-2, 3-1 Ivy) sustained a furious second-half comeback from the No. 16 Bears (3-3, 0-1 Ivy) to win, 12-11.

“I told him, ‘that one was for you guys,'” Barry said. “It was really motivating for me because I played on that team as a freshman, and the other guys really stepped up their game for the seniors.”

In another game where the whole team worked together on attack and on defense, the Bulldogs pulled out their second one-goal win over a ranked opponent to climb into second place in the Ivy League standings. The Elis laid the foundation for the win with a dominant attack in the first half that produced 25 shots compared to Brown’s 13 and gave the Bulldogs a 9-4 lead going into halftime.

“The first half was probably the best half I have ever seen us play in my four years at Yale,” Goldberg said. “We were dominating and controlling the ball. Every look seemed to be open [on offense].”

Once again, the play by Dan Kallaugher ’06 in the face-off circle made the successful attack possible as the fifth-best face-off man in Division I went 21-for-27 on draws.

“[Kallaugher] got the ball for the entire first half, and we played solid defense when we had to,” Yale head coach Andy Shay said. “We had the ball a lot and retained possessions by getting ground balls when we had to. They were a great team, and we were fortunate to get out of there with a win.”

The Bulldogs showed a high level of intensity and out-hustled the Bears, picking up 40 ground balls compared to Brown’s 26. Kallaugher, who is also ranked second in the nation in ground balls per game, added a game-high 16 ground balls.

On attack, the Elis were led by Goldberg and midfielder Chris Kempner ’07, who both had two goals and two assists. Dan Brillman ’06, Tyler Casertano ’07 and Colin Neville ’06 each finished with two tallies as well.

“To have five different players score two goals just shows how well the offense is working as a unit,” Barry said. “They are playing awesome together.”

Using a balanced attack, the Elis were able to build a 11-4 lead with 6:40 left in the third quarter. The Bears, however, knew time was against them and started forcing their own attack. The Bulldogs responded by trying to slow down the tempo of the game and control the ball, but every time the Bears got the ball back they pressured Eli goaltender George Carafides ’08.

“They got a couple of breaks, and they capitalized on them to get some momentum,” said Carafides, who finished with nine saves. “We can’t hustle the way we did in the first half for 60 minutes and that’s what let them get back. Brown was a good team, and they took advantage of some mistakes.”

With aggressive play by attackman Chazz Woodson and midfielder Chris Mucciolo, the Bears cut the Eli lead to 11-9. But the Bulldogs responded with a gutsy play that led to the their final goal of the game.

“The last goal was a little bit crazy,” Shay said. “[David] Schecter [’06] probably shouldn’t have fed the ball to Neville, but he made a great play and ended up scoring the game-winning goal. I can’t say I was telling them to go to the cage.”

The Bears scored two more goals to cut the Eli lead to one with 57 seconds remaining, but that was as close as they got as the Bulldog defense prevented Brown from tying the game in the final minute. The stop was reminiscent of the Bulldogs’ defensive stand in the final minutes of the Princeton game, in which the Elis held off a last-ditch attack to win, 9-8.

“We played well enough to keep them out, and we tightened up our defense,” Barry said. “The fact that we were able to hold on and keep two talented teams from scoring at the end of the game is a huge confidence booster for us, but we don’t want that to happen every game. We want to close the door on teams, which we could have done.”