By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Most fans and supporters of Munford Volleyball in recent years would consider the three daughters of Bonnie and Phillip Gable as gifts to the program.
The First Family of Munford Volleyball arrived in Tipton County during the summer of 2007 with an incoming freshman Scarlet and her two younger sisters Savannah and Cecily waiting in the wings.
The Gable Era was the most successful period in the program’s history. Along with several other standouts like Lizzie McLean, Cali Overbeck, Brandi Hale, Crystal Williams, Kelsey Hale, Lily Turner, Sami Jo Schulz, Lauren Zvolanek and more Munford reached 8 straight Sectionals. Along with two State Tournament appearances in 2007 and 2010, head coaches Mike Anderson, Nina Makris and now Angie Buchanan have witnessed multiple Lady Cougars signing to play college volleyball.
Scarlet was the first Lady Cougar to reach the next level signing a Division I scholarship to Belmont. And on National Signing Day 2014 her baby sister put a bow on the Gable’s present to Munford by inking her letter of intent to Division I Austin Peay State University.
“We always knew she had the talent to play,” Makris said. “It was if she wanted to play. She played with Scarlet and saw her go off to college. She saw how tough college is. College is not all fun. College is hard to play. She got a glimpse of that and to still want to play, I was happy to see that. I’m glad she didn’t get burned out after seeing how hard college is with Scarlet playing.”
With Scarlet scheduled to graduate from Belmont in May, Cecily made her choice to continue the Gable’s run in the Ohio Valley Conference selecting Head Coach Taylor Mott’s Lady Governors’ program.
“It’s a big accomplishment and I’m really excited for my future,” Cecily said. “I worked really hard and Austin Peay is a good fit. I really like their volleyball program and the coach there is awesome. It’s the perfect distance from home and I like the small town atmosphere.”
Cecily’s road to Clarksville started when she attended Memphis Metro and Munford games for her big sisters. Scarlet was the Flyin’ Hawaiian scoring on powerful spikes and clever tips. The person setting her most of the time was sister Savannah.
Savannah approached the game with a relaxed attitude but in big games she brought the intensity. Meanwhile Scarlet’s motor was consistently on full throttle showing the competition no mercy. Baby sister Cecily was a blend of both Scarlet and Savannah with her approach to the game.
“Cecily’s best games are when she plays a really good team or somebody she knows,” Makris noted. “Her biggest problem was sometimes things came too easily for her. So trying to get her motivated for some of the games was the hardest thing to do as a coach. She’s all about the big games and the hard game. She’s about the challenge.”
“That is 100 percent right,” Bonnie agreed. “For some reason if they were playing a really good team, I don’t know if it was the excitement or if it’s somebody she knows, then it’s on.”
Bonnie noted that all her daughters shared similar characteristics on the court wanting to win. But they approached the game differently.
Coming into her freshman year in 2011, Cecily was being compared to her sisters.
“That was a huge concern at first,” Bonnie acknowledged. “Coach Mak knows because you want to make each one feel special. You want to let them know what each one’s talent and capabilities are. But she handled it fine.
“The last time we played Dyer County and we walked in the gym,” she added. “There were some students standing there. One yelled, ‘There goes the Flyin’ Hawaiian,’ to Cecily. I was so shocked people still (say that). But that was a concern at first. She seemed to handle it just fine.”
Cecily said living up tonthe championship expectations of her sisters wasn’t a big deal.
“Not really, it was kind of exciting,” she said. “People already knew about Scarlet, so I felt I had something to live up to. It was more exciting than pressure.
“It’s been a really big joy playing the last four year,” Cecily added. “It’s been an accomplishment knowing we made it to Sub-State the last four years. It’s remained steady which is a good feeling.”
After playing three years for Makris, Gable had a season with veteran coach Buchanan leading Munford to a District 13-3A championship.
“Terrific player on and off the court,” Buchanan said. “She’s one of the best all around I’ve coached in my 21 years. Truly and I’ve had some good ones over the years.
“Scarlet was very good,” she added. “They’re all very good and Cecily is equally as good. She’s even better off the court because she’s very coachable.”
Buchanan witnessed Gable become regular-season and tournament MVP for the district. Gable was also named to the All-Region 7-3A Tournament team. The classroom has also been a place for success for Gable earning a 3.95 grade-point average and current rank in the Class of 2015 Top 10 at Munford.
Scarlet finished in the Top 10 of her class and Savannah scored the highest on the ACT in the family with a 27. But the impact of the Gable girls was mostly felt on the volleyball court.
“I guess (my legacy is) similar to what Scarlet’s was — really, really dedicated to the sport and enjoyed playing,” Cecily said. “But honestly we’re different people.
“I hope we’re remembered for good sportsmanship, love for the sport and brought a lot to Munford,” she added. “We helped the program and we hope it lasts and they keep improving.”
Bonnie said the town of Munford has been a blessing to her family and her trio of daughters.
“I remember like yesterday the first time we walked in the gym for volleyball tryouts,” she recalled. “Cali Overbeck and Lizzie McLean were all there.
“At that time there’s no way possible I thought the impact the girls would have an influence on volleyball,” Bonnie concluded. “Definitely we couldn’t have known the influence Munford could mean to us.”