Easthampton’s Fiona Bundy, Northampton’s Sophia Schaefer enjoying final season together with Bowdoin College women’s lacrosse team


Staff Writer 

Published: 04-25-2023 12:53 PM

Fiona Bundy’s first memory of her now-best friend Sophia Schaefer isn’t a typical one. 

Northampton native Schaefer and Easthampton native Bundy both went to the same kindergarten at the Smith College Campus School, but weren’t in the same class, so they didn’t know who the other was – but their parents did. 

“Our families both ended up in Sanibel (Fla.) on vacation and our parents recognized each other because where we went to elementary school, the campus school is really small. My family was staying at this hotel with a pool, and Sophia's family snuck in to the hotel to use the pool,” Fiona said with a laugh. 

From that moment forward, their paths have seemed almost intertwined. They stayed at the Smith College Campus School together from kindergarten to sixth grade, and then both went to Williston Northampton School from seventh grade until they graduated together. Now, the two are co-captains playing lacrosse together at Bowdoin College, their friendship now going on 15-plus years. 

“I always tell people she's the only person from my high school that I could have gone to college with –  which is not a jab at anyone else. But I think we just have the easiest relationship and friendship,” Bundy said. “We just work so well together lacrosse-wise and then also she is the best friend I could ask for.” 

Before they started playing lacrosse together, they played youth soccer together, kicking a ball around when they were in the first grade. Bundy almost didn’t play lacrosse at all – Schaefer was on board, following along with some other kids in their class who wanted to learn the game. Bundy was more reluctant – Sophia’s mom ended up driving her to her first practice when the two of them were in fourth grade. 

“I remember I was at a playdate at Soph’s house and they had lacrosse practice and Soph’s mom dragged – well, not dragged me, but I didn't really want to go and play,” Bundy said. “I tried it, I liked it and my mom signed me up and we've been playing together since fourth grade.”

The two had successful athletic careers together during their time at Williston – they played on the soccer team together in the fall, and would briefly part ways during the winter – Schaefer played ice hockey and Bundy played basketball – before reuniting to play lacrosse for the Wildcats in the spring. They also played club lacrosse in the summer, albeit on different teams, but as they grew older and coaches started calling, they both realized that they weren’t ready to wrap up their lacrosse careers just yet. 

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“I think later on in high school, we kind of realized lacrosse is something that we really enjoyed playing and want to keep doing in college,” Schaefer said. “But we didn’t imagine that we were going to go to the same college and play lacrosse together.” 

But that was exactly what happened. As the two realized that college lacrosse was an avenue they wanted to pursue, they started looking at schools. 

“We actually visited Bowdoin for the first time together (our) junior year of high school, because they host clinics for players that they want to look at,” Bundy said. “Us and both of our moms came up to Maine and we just had the most magical time. I think both of us fell in love with it a lot.” 

While they wrapped up a strong senior season at Williston as co-captains, leading the team to the Western New England Prep School League Association Class B tournament and winning individual awards – Bundy earned the team’s co-MVP award and Schaefer was a winner of the Davis Award for overall contributions – they were narrowing down their options. Bowdoin was still on both of their minds, though they never talked specifically about going to the school together.

Bundy committed first, and while she was driving one summer day, she got the call that she didn’t know she was waiting for – Schaefer would be joining her in Maine. Bundy immediately started crying “tears of happiness” that her best friend would be joining her. 

Since then, the two have picked up right where they left off. They’ve been just as successful in college – Bundy is a two-time Third Team All-American, two-time All-Region, and earned a First Team All-NESCAC selection last year, and Schaefer has been on the NESCAC All-Academic team the last two seasons and won the Ellen Tiemer Award, given to a senior or junior woman who has has brought the most credit to Bowdoin and to herself. Having played together for more than a decade, they know each other’s tendencies and also have the shared experience of captaining a team together, too. 

“I think (our familiarity) comes with having played on the same field and on the same team with someone for so long that they know how you play and how you respond in these athletic situations, and they can help kind of bring out the best of you and I think that is what I feel on the field in terms of Fi,” Schaefer said. 

They’re two people who seemed destined to be friends since that first fateful meeting in a pool in Sanibel all those years ago. While their lacrosse career at Bowdoin is nearing its end, it seems clear that the two have become like family and will stay in each other’s lives beyond their time there. Their relationship is maybe best summed up by an exchange the two had as their interview with a reporter drew to a close. 

“It's pretty special,” Schaefer said on her and Bundy’s relationship. “We've been on the same lacrosse field for more than a decade, played on the same draw circle….It's incredible – it’s like having a sister, it’s like that same relationship –”

“Don’t you have a sister?” Bundy quipped. Schaefer laughed, backpedaling frantically.

“I have a sister who I also love! But having that person who's always in your life and who always has your back and who you've experienced so much with and shared so much with – it’s really special,” Schaefer said. 

The Polar Bears are 6-8 on the season after Saturday’s 15-10 win over Connecticut College. They close their regular season at Tufts on Wednesday before opening the NESCAC tourney April 29 at Middlebury.

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1.]]>