T’ara Caesar walks away from Florida volleyball


Senior redshirt and All-SEC team member T’ara Ceasar played in his final game of college volleyball.

She announced that she will not be competing with the Gators volleyball team in the upcoming 2021 NCAA Tournament on Instagram Monday night.

In her message, Caesar said she would leave the team to focus on her mental and physical health before leaving school.

“My time here has allowed me to build a more robust character and make some amazing friends and teammates,” Caesar said in the post. “Although I’m not finishing the season, I still want to send love and positive wishes to my teammates and the Florida Gator volleyball family.”

News of Caesar’s transition comes just days before the Gators’ opener of the NCAA Tournament against the Florida A&M Rattlers on Thursday.

Due to the dominance and elite play Caesar brought to his team, the loss will be a blow to Florida’s offensive firepower.

Caesar will end his college volleyball career with a crowded honors cabinet. The Panama City, Fla. product earned her first All-SEC nod at the University of Georgia where she competed as a Bulldog for her first two seasons.

After transferring to Florida and missing her junior year due to transfer rules, Caesar picked up where she left off in Gainesville.

She racked up two All-SEC nominations in two seasons in Florida, as well as two potential nominations for the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-American team. Caesar has dominated every time she has graced the floor of the O’Connell Center and sits fifth in the school’s all-time winning set record going into her sophomore year at Florida.

Head coach Mary Wise will rely on young outside hitters to make up for lost runs, like rookie Merritt Beason and second Sofia Victoria. Beason has become a staple in the starting lineup this year, sitting third on the team in total kills and points with 202 and 251.5, respectively. While the rookie from Gardendale, Alabama has already made a name for himself on the Florida team, his role will only get bigger with Monday’s news.

In the third set of Saturday’s game against Kentucky, Victoria scored six of the first seven points for the Gators in Caesar’s absence. She finished the game as the team leader for eliminations, hitting a .286 clip. Her lack of playing time this season makes Victoria a less proven talent than Beason, but flashes of star power offer positive signs for the Gators.

While these options have benefits, none of them will fully replicate what Caesar has done and meant for the Gators this season. With less than 72 hours to find a solution, Wise has a busy week ahead of her.

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Contact Carson Cashion at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @carsoncashion.

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