EUGENE - Looking forward to its first NCAA Final Four appearance, the University of Oregon volleyball team is welcoming fans to Matthew Knight Arena to cheer on the Ducks in a free watch party Thursday night.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. - a half hour before fifth-seeded UO plays top-seeded Penn State at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.

Parking will be free in the MKA garage, and concessions stands will be open.

Fans can enter the arena from the north side off Franklin Avenue, and watch action on the arena scoreboards.

Thursday's other match (although not part of the watch party) features #3 seed Texas and Michigan immediately before.

The winners of Thursday's semifinals advance to Saturday's final at 4 p.m. Pacific Time on ESPN2.

All matches will also be streamed online at the www.ESPN3.com website

UO comes off 3-1 wins in Omaha last weekend in the NCAA Third and Fourth Rounds vs. #12 seed BYU and #4 seed Nebraska. The weekend before, UO swept Northern Colorado and No. 13-ranked Dayton in Eugene in its first home matches since 1986.

Boasting a school-record wins mark, the Ducks (29-4, 16-4) also notched a best-ever Pac-12 runner-up finish.

As always, Oregon fans have played a key part in the team's success this year.

Eight of the team's top-25 crowds in school history have come this season vs. then-No. 2 Washington (#3, 3,978), Northern Colorado (#9, 3,038), Washington State (#10, 2,928), No. 13 Dayton (#12, 2,696), Oregon State (#17, 2,355), California (#22, 2,011) and UCLA (#23, 1,964).

At the end of the regular season, Oregon stood 17th nationally in average home crowd attendance (2,102), even after its first three home dates were played before the start of the fall term.

More information on the NCAA Tournament is available at the www.NCAAsports.com website.

 

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