Boys tennis: Experienced Shelton wants to take next step

First-year Shelton High coach Bob Ayer inherits a small in numbers, but a strong team he believes is primed for a return to the postseason despite competing against Southern Connecticut Conference foes. 

Shelton has only a 10-player roster, but nine of the athletes return from last year’s squad that went 9-6 and qualified for the state tournament. 

“The team’s goal is to qualify for post season play,” said Ayer, a 1993 graduate of Shelton High who was the captain of the football, baseball and basketball teams and went on to play football and baseball at Trinity College. “The strength of our team is that we have many returning players with experience. All of our players are returnees except newcomer Jeff Lim.” 

Hritish Bhargava is a senior captain, and Adam Rosetti and Spencer Hatfield are junior captains. 

Lim, Josh Hunter and Owen Corbett are all juniors. 

Christian Ripke, Carson Rhodes, Suhassa Nadella and Archit Bhargava are sophomores. 

“Although our team is low in numbers, we are trying to build a competitive program to contend with the powerful teams in the SCC and around the state,” Ayer said. “Some of the tougher opponents we will face include Fairfield Prep, Daniel Hand of Madison, Guilford and Amity. 

“Despite some of the formidable opponents on our schedule, our boys are not about to back down. They have been practicing hard and we are looking forward to a solid season. 

“I am also very fortunate to have an excellent assistant coach, Ettore Rossetti, who has been a huge asset to the program.” 

Ayer, a long-time recreational tennis player, is in his first year of coaching tennis competitively, but he is not new to coaching sports or helping lead teams at Shelton High. 

He spent 10 years as assistant football coach at Shelton High, 11 years as assistant baseball coach at SHS, three years as an assistant boys’ volleyball coach at SHS, and last year was his first year as the co-head coach for SHS field hockey.