Florida Gators volleyball team captain Merritt Beason has entered the transfer portal, a representative of the team confirmed.
The sophomore outside hitter from Gardendale, Alabama, was a mainstay in UF head coach Mary Wise’s lineups the past two seasons. Beason led the Gators with 3.35 kills per set this past season and finished second in total kills with 348.
Beason is the second Florida volleyball player to enter the transfer portal this season, following junior setter Birdie Hendrickson.
Beason was considered the most recognizable face of a young Florida roster that reached the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. She burst onto the scene in Gainesville in 2021. She recorded 217 kills and 2.24 kills per set, earning her a spot on the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team.
Beason’s strong sophomore season earned her multiple Southeastern Conference accolades. She was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week twice and received a spot on the 2022 All-SEC Team alongside fellow Gators Alexis Stucky and Marina Markova.
The Gators finished the 2022 season 25-6 overall and 15-3 in the Southeastern Conference, good enough to split the SEC title with Kentucky. UF bowed out of the NCAA tournament Dec. 8 following a four-set loss to Pittsburgh.
Beason’s departure leaves a hole in UF’s leadership and deprives Florida of its top returning offensive weapon. Barring any more departures from the program, the Gators will turn to rising seniors Elli McKissock and Sofia Victoria to take on a veteran role and returning starters Stucky, Gabrielle Essix and Bre Kelley to continue their development.
Contact Ethan Eibe at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EthanEibe.
Ethan Eibe is a second-year UF sports media major and covers Gators baseball for The Alligator. Outside of his writing, Ethan is a play-by-play broadcaster for UF student radio and has spent two summers announcing professional baseball with the Alpine Cowboys. He is a long-suffering Miami Marlins fan.