College roundup: Taylor Geiman, Virginia Tech advance to Women's Final Four

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

After a brilliant basketball career at South Western High School, Taylor Geiman has spent her college career as part of the supporting cast at Virginia Tech. She and the Hokies will now play on their sport’s biggest stage.

Virginia Tech advanced to the Final Four on Monday night with an 84-74 victory over Ohio State, sending the No. 1-seed Hokies to the national semifinals for the first time in program history. Geiman made a one-minute appearance in the game but played 15 minutes in Virginia Tech’s first two tournament contests and scored five total points.

Virginia Tech players, including guard Georgia Amoore, center, guard Kayana Traylor, second from right, forward Taylor Soule, right, and guard Taylor Geiman (35), celebrate after an Elite 8 college basketball game against Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament, Monday, March 27, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

It’s been a storybook season for head coach Kenny Brooks’ Hokies, who have won 15 games in a row to improve to 31-4 overall. That streak includes the ACC tournament title, two home wins in the big dance, a 73-64 victory over No. 4-seed Tennessee in Seattle and Monday’s triumph over the No. 3-seed Buckeyes. Ohio State knocked out powerhouse UConn in the regional semifinal.

Elizabeth Kitley, a 6-foot-6 senior center and the two-time ACC Player of the Year, notched 25 points and 12 rebounds Monday, while junior guard Georgia Amoore added 24 points. Six players logged 199 of Virginia Tech’s 200 minutes; Geiman was the seventh Hokie to take the floor.

Geiman tallied 1,134 points at South Western, and she was named York-Adams League Player of the Year in 2019 after averaging 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 4.1 blocks and 2.4 steals per game. She chose Virginia Tech over a lengthy list of suitors, and while her first two seasons were riddled with knee injuries and she’s remained a reserve as an upperclassman, Monday’s celebration was well worth the wait.

The Hokies will battle No. 3-seed LSU (32-2) in the Final Four at 7 p.m. Friday in Dallas. No. 1 overall seed South Carolina (36-0) and No. 2-seed Iowa (30-6) will follow at 9:30. The championship game will tip off at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Sharing the stage: Another former York-Adams League standout has also helped her team advance to championship weekend. Katy Rader, a York Catholic graduate, has been a starter throughout the season for Christopher Newport, which has taken its unbeaten season all the way to the Division III title game. But Rader was injured during the Sweet 16 and won’t be able to join the Captains on the floor in Saturday’s title game.

No. 1-ranked Christopher Newport (31-0) will play No. 2 Transylvania (32-0) at noon Saturday. The women’s championship games for all three NCAA levels will be played at the American Airlines Center in Dallas in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX. The last time all three women’s finals were held in the same location was in 2016 in Indianapolis.

York Catholic's Katy Rader, left, advances the ball while Bellwood Antis' Alli Campbell defends during PIAA girls' Class 2-A basketball quarterfinal action at Mifflin County High School in Lewistown, Friday, March 15, 2019. Bellwood Antis would win the game 53-47. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Rader was a four-year starter at York Catholic, as well as a member of the cross country and lacrosse teams and her class valedictorian. She averaged five minutes in 27 contests in 2019-20 as a freshman with the Captains, and after the 2020-21 season was not contested amid the pandemic, Rader logged 13 minutes per game as a junior last season. This year, she made 29 starts and averaged 7.2 points in 20 minutes per game, with a season high of 23 points against Salisbury on Jan. 14.

Rader, like Geiman, is eligible to return for a fifth season of college basketball due to the NCAA’s COVID waiver.

Bowing out: For most of March, it seemed like the local product most likely to advance to April was Houston men’s basketball’s Jarace Walker. The New Freedom native and projected NBA lottery pick was a freshman phenom for the Cougars, who were a No. 1 seed and the early betting favorite in the Division I tournament. Houston made the Sweet 16 before falling to No. 5-seed Miami, 89-75, on Friday evening in Kansas City.

Houston forward Jarace Walker (25) shoots over Cincinnati guard Mika Adams-Woods during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Walker — who attended Susquehannock until eighth grade before playing high school basketball at national powerhouse IMG Academy in Florida — averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds his only college season. He tallied 16 points, 11 boards and four blocks but went just 4-of-16 from the field in the loss to the Hurricanes. 

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward confirmed Friday he will enter the NBA draft. Most analysts rate him as a top-10 prospect.


Surging Spartans: York College women’s lacrosse earned a signature road win Saturday, knocking off No. 2-ranked Washington & Lee, 12-8, on the road. The Spartans — who moved up from No. 10 to No. 8 in this week’s D-III poll — outscored the host Generals 4-1 in the second quarter and 5-2 in the third to swing the game. Their third straight win moved them to 5-2 overall entering Wednesday’s visit to Hood.

Senior attacker Kiersten Blanchard had three goals in that game and five in last Wednesday’s 20-8 win over Stevens to earn MAC Commonwealth Offensive Player of the Week on Monday. Senior goalie Bella Garabo was named Defensive Player of the Week after making nine saves Saturday and holding two ranked opponents to eight goals apiece.

Saturday was also a productive day for the men’s lacrosse team, which improved to 3-4 with a 20-8 home win against Grove City. Senior Will Harnick scored five times to lead the Spartans, who remain ranked 13th in D-III as all four losses have come against top-10 foes. York hosts Hood on Wednesday evening.

Swings of spring: After York College baseball saw its five-game win streak snapped by Penn State Harrisburg, the Spartans dropped two of three against Alvernia over the weekend. They fell 6-1 on the road Friday, won 11-7 in the first leg of Sunday’s doubleheader and closed the series with a 16-7 loss that afternoon. Now 9-10, York will seek a return to .500 when they face Stevenson this weekend (road game Friday, home doubleheader Saturday).

The softball team finished Tuesday right at .500 (8-8) after splitting a doubleheader at Gettysburg (7-2 loss, 7-2 win). York also split a Sunday doubleheader at Messiah, losing 4-3 in eight innings to start the afternoon but bouncing back with a 5-4 victory.

Men’s golf placed sixth of 16 teams Sunday at the Green Terror Spring Invitational in Abbottstown, which was shortened to one day after Saturday was rained out. It’s the second time in as many tournaments this spring York has only gotten one competitive round in. The Spartans will hope for better fortunes at the Hershey Cup on Sunday and Monday at Hershey Country Club.

In the win column: Penn State York baseball started its 2023 season 0-3 but got on the board with a doubleheader sweep of Christendom last Wednesday. The Lions earned victories of 5-3 and 13-2, and after weather messed with their weekend plans, they were set to return to action at Bucks County Community College on Tuesday afternoon.

The team will battle Penn State Schuylkill for four games this weekend, starting with a Saturday doubleheader at WellSpan Park and finishing with two games Sunday in Hamburg.